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N.H.-Maine bridge open today at the earliest

Transportation officials say they won’t know until this weekend whether repairs to a bridge that links New Hampshire and Maine will be enough to reopen the Piscataqua River’s shipping lanes.

The center span of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge got stuck Wednesday during a routine test.

Repair crews have been working on the bridge from sunrise to sunset, in what Bill Jannelle, New Hampshire Department of Transportation operations director, described as “brutal” weather conditions.

Repairs should be completed today, Jannelle said, but officials won’t know if the lift mechanism is fully repaired until they try to raise the bridge.

Up until yesterday, lobster shipments and a barge carrying biodiesel were delayed. But Coast Guard Lt. Nick Barrow said three deep-draft cargo ships were scheduled to arrive at terminals along the river between yesterday and Monday, including one with heating oil bound for the Sprague Energy terminal in Portsmouth.

A Sprague official said they expect no supply disruptions if the bridge reopens today.

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