The DOT workers assigned to the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge who quickly and efficiently repaired and improved the bridge after a malfunction last week want to share the credit. When we interviewed crew members, all were in agreement that the effort was a success because of old-fashioned team work and some protocols.
SEA member Bob Spinney, Bridge Construction Foreman, was quick to recite a long list of others to thank.
“First, we need to thank the gate tenders,” he said. “They immediately sounded the alarm and set the bridge emergency protocols in motion.” That’s right folks; they already have a plan in place for such events. “They were also very helpful in pushing the buttons for us, the electricians, and the IT tech.” This may seem like a small contribution; however, without this assistance repair workers would have been spending valuable time climbing up and down between levels of the bridge.
Bob also named Dylan Kimmel of Northeast Integration as being extremely helpful in matters that involved IT issues, including critical software that is used for the bridge. He also cited Yates Electric from Durham. Contracted electricians assisted the DOT staff electrician which helped accelerate the repair process. “It was an all hands on deck situation,” said Spinney.
“We have our own safety boat, but since it was all hands on deck, Commissioner Clement talked with the NH Port Authority and they agreed to provide us with a safety boat and they watched us every second. That was a big, big help because it freed up two to three of our crew to help with the repairs rather than being on our safety boat,” according to Spinney. Spinney also praised Commissioner Clement for the time he spent at the site and his dedication to getting the team everything they needed to make certain the effort was as safe as possible.
Maine DOT helped with detour and traffic operations on their end. Personnel from the Hampton Turnpike Shed and the shed from Rye helped out with detour and traffic on the NH side of the bridge. Folks from Traffic Sign Corps out of Concord helped with traffic control by re-programming traffic lights and other assistance. The NH State Police also helped with the road traffic issues.
Crew 6 from Newfields answered the call for help, as did the Traffic Crew from District Six. They brought their detour package to the area.
“Crew 13 at Franklin Yard was incredible,” said Spinney. “They procured and had the steel for the repair delivered to their facility. Then they prepared the steel and trucked the heavy metal pieces to us all in a one-day turnaround.”
“Brenda, our office support did a fantastic job, as well. As you can imagine, the phone was ringing off the hook and she did a great job of fielding calls, taking notes, delivering messages. She is the glue that held everything together. So, a big thank you to her.”
Spinney’s final word of thanks went out to the general public and the many stakeholders for their patience while the crew made the repairs. “After 22½ years on the job, I can say this was the worst I’ve ever been through. It has been cold and windy before plenty of times, but this was the most sustained amount of time we’ve spent working in such conditions. It was tough. So, not feeling pressure to hurry was really helpful.”