Spanning the Centuries
  • Print
Written by SeacoastNH Archive

Memorial bridge detail Presents 
Historic Portsmouth #468 

No other photo from the archives seems more appropriate this week than this shot of the 1922 Memorial Bridge span arriving on the scene. How often do we get to see history so vividly repeated? The arrival of the middle span for the new bridge across the Piscataqua this week looked hauntingly familiar. (continued below) 

 But the cutting edge technology of the 21st century bridge designed by Theodore P. Zoli III, as familiar as it may seem, is altogether different. It is the first truss bridge built without gusset plates connecting its major members and instead uses identical metal sections that are spliced together. It also introduces cold bending of steel to bridge construction, a submarine building technique pioneered by the U.S. Navy. How do I know all that? I stole the information right off the new Discover Portsmouth Web site ( With uncanny timing the historical society visitor center (in the old library at the corner of Islington and Middle streets) features an exhibit entitled "Bridging the Piscataqua." Learn all about Portsmouth bridges from 1790 until today. Discover Portsmouth is open daily and the free exhibit runs until October 13. For more information call 603-436-843. (Photo courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum)

Memorial Bridge span 1922


1922 bridge span close-up of tugboat on Piscatqua