💲 $20 million in RAISE Grant money will cover more than half the cost of the project

💲 The existing Sullivan Bridge is 79 years old, and closed for use by all

💲 The bridge holds a place in WWE history

Most of New Hampshire's congressional delegation visited the General Sullivan Bridge in Dover on Friday to talk about the $20 million in federal funding put towards to the project to replace the 79-year-old bridge, built in 1934.

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, along with Rep. Chris Pappas from the First Congressional District, secured the federal funding to replace and reopen the bridge with a new two-girder superstructure for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The grant will cover 56% of the $35 million total cost of the project, according to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

The bridge carried vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians for 50 years. It was closed to cars and trucks in 1984 with the widening of the Little Bay Bridge on the adjacent Spaulding Turnpike. Deterioration of the bridge made it unsafe for all users, and it was closed in 2018.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, the bridge is subject to some of the strongest tidal currents along the eastern seaboard.

“It was great to celebrate the General Sullivan Bridge project today -- my colleagues and I crafted the bipartisan infrastructure law because we wanted to make projects like this one possible," Hassan said in a statement. "This project embodies the New Hampshire spirit of working together and solving problems, demonstrating what we can accomplish when we collaborate. I look forward to seeing how this new bridge will help grow the local economy and strengthen ties between the communities of Dover and Newington. ”

General Sullivan Bridge
General Sullivan Bridge (Dover Public Library)

Shaheen wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg supporting the project, in an effort to secure the funds though the RAISE grant program. She also looked at the bridge as an investment.

“In addition to easing travel for pedestrians and bicyclists, this project is an important investment in the economic vitality of New Hampshire’s Seacoast communities. I look forward to seeing the impact of this RAISE Grant on environmental sustainability, community connectivity, and economic development across the region.”

“I was proud to join our Congressional delegation today to discuss the federal funding we worked to secure to support this project, and meet with local leaders and stakeholders to hear about the importance of this work. I remain committed to returning additional federal dollars to New Hampshire to rebuild our infrastructure and create good-paying jobs," Pappas said.

The General Sullivan Bridge is the longest existing pre-1940 bridge in New Hampshire, with an overall length of 1,528 feet. It is named for John Sullivan, a Revolutionary War general, Governor of New Hampshire, and delegate to the Continental Congress from Somersworth.

It is also part of WWE history in which Stone Cold Steve Austin threw the WWE Intercontinental Championship belt – which belonged to The Rock – into the Piscataqua River below.

The NH DOT expects the new bridge to be completed by fall 2026.

Rendering of Proposed General Sullivan Bridge (Near) and the NB and SB Little Bay Bridges (Far and Middle)
Rendering of Proposed General Sullivan Bridge (Near) and the NB and
SB Little Bay Bridges (Far and Middle) (NH DOT)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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