Little Bay Bridge

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Little Bay Bridge
Little Bay Bridges 02.jpg
The Little Bay Bridge spans the mouth of Little Bay
Coordinates 43°07′05″N 70°49′32″W / 43.1181°N 70.82559°W / 43.1181; -70.82559Coordinates: 43°07′05″N 70°49′32″W / 43.1181°N 70.82559°W / 43.1181; -70.82559
Carries US 4 / NH 16 / Spaulding Turnpike
Crosses Piscataqua River
Locale Dover and Newington, New Hampshire
Official name Little Bay Bridge
Maintained by New Hampshire Department of Transportation
ID number 006502010002500 (SB)
006502010002400 (NB)[1]
Characteristics
Total length 486.2 m (1,595 ft)
Width 8.5 m (27.9 ft) (each span)
Clearance above 6.93 m (22.7 ft)
Clearance below 14 m (45.9 ft)
History
Opened 1966 (SB)
1984 (NB)
Statistics
Daily traffic 50380 (1992)

The Little Bay Bridge is a twin-span girder bridge that carries a concurrency of U.S. Route 4, NH Route 16, and the Spaulding Turnpike across the mouth of Little Bay, where it meets the Piscataqua River, between the city of Dover and the town of Newington in New Hampshire.

The first span, which is now the southbound span, was opened in 1966. The second span was opened in 1984.

The two spans were built to replace an older one, named the General Sullivan Bridge, which was built in 1935 and is still standing though closed to traffic. The Little Bay Bridge is often referred to as the "General Sullivan Bridge" as well, because it is at the same location as the older bridge, and because of the eighteen-year period between the completion of the first Little Bay span and the opening of the second, when both the old and new bridges were in use.

General Sullivan Bridge[edit]

The General Sullivan Bridge to the right of the Little Bay Bridge at Dover Point

The General Sullivan Bridge is a deck truss bridge, with a through truss span to accommodate ship traffic, that formerly carried the roads that now travel over the Little Bay Bridge. Completed in 1935, the bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic since the opening of the second Little Bay span in 1984.

The bridge was named for John Sullivan, a Revolutionary War general, Governor of New Hampshire, and delegate to the Continental Congress, who was from nearby Somersworth.

Since being closed to vehicular traffic, the General Sullivan has been used by pedestrians and cyclists, as the Little Bay Bridge does not have facilities for foot traffic. The older bridge is also a popular fishing spot. Despite being considered by some to be the second most historic bridge in New Hampshire (after Portsmouth's Memorial Bridge), the future of the General Sullivan is uncertain.

The General Sullivan Bridge, although it was not named, appeared in a 1997 episode of WWF Monday Night Raw, when Steve Austin threw the WWF Intercontinental Title (then belonging to The Rock) into the river below.[2]

Future plans[edit]

The Little Bay Bridge and its access roads on the Dover and Newington banks are prone to traffic congestion during morning and afternoon rush hours. The New Hampshire DOT is planning a comprehensive improvement of the area.[3]

Both bridges are under scrutiny, with four options being considered.[4] Three call for expansion of the Little Bay Bridge to six or eight lanes and restoration of the General Sullivan as both a pedestrian/bicycle way and alternative for buses and overflow traffic. The fourth would replace all three spans with an eight lane bridge.

The eventual fate of the General Sullivan is more controversial than that of the Little Bay Bridge. The Coast Guard regards it as a navigation hazard and favors its removal.[3] Other opponents cite rehabilitation costing between $8 and $11 million more than razing.[4] Bridge proponents cite its eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]

The rehabilitation project for the General Sullivan Bridge is estimated to cost $26 million as of August 2014.

Photographs[edit]

Little Bay Bridge[edit]

General Sullivan Bridge[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]