Maine – New Hampshire Connections Study: Linking two communities multi-modally
CHALLENGE: Three bridges link Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine. Two of them – the Memorial Bridge and the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge - were built in 1923 and 1940, respectively, and need expensive repairs. The Maine-New Hampshire Connections Study is taking a detailed look at how these bridges are used and what kind of changes or improvements to the Piscataqua River crossings would best serve the region over the long term.
STRATEGY: The study team needed to devise a process to effectively manage a multi-state, multi-community analysis dealing with much-loved historic bridges and two closely knit communities. Morris led a highly interactive series of committee and public meetings to generate ideas on any and all possible changes or improvements for the river crossings between Kittery and Portsmouth. When all was said and done, 60+ alternatives were identified. Using criteria generated during the initial meetings, the study team conducted an in-depth Fatal Flaw Analysis on the slate of alternatives, eventually winnowing the list down to nine alternatives for detailed study. Morris’ outreach effort has been significant:
- Coordination between the study team, steering committee, stakeholder committee, and involved, aware members of the public whose ties to the bridges and their surrounding areas are highly personal and often at odds
- Meeting with local Chambers of Commerce and other economically based groups to investigate avenues for analyzing regional and local economic impact of potential changes to bridge configurations
- Media outreach in both Portsmouth and Kittery to give confidence that the process is fair and comprehensive
- Maintenance of the detailed documentation required by a state transportation study, including meeting minutes, update reports, and an informational website with background materials
RESULTS: During further analysis of the nine remaining alternatives, the study team will work with the public, state and federal agencies and committee members to develop a recommendation on the details of replacement or rehabilitation of the bridges.