Friday, August 24, 2012

Memorial Bridge – First Builder Connected to Current Designer

The Atlas passing under the Memorial Bridge. Without a lift bridge, the river traffic on the Piscataque would be choked off.

Story and photo by Bill Moore
Staff Columnist

Once upon a time, there was this bridge carrying up to 14,000 cars and trucks a day back and forth across the Piscataqua River on the Post Road between Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. That structure, the Memorial Bridge, was opened in 1923, and over the past six months -- because it failed a critical safety inspection on July 27, 2011 -- it was pulled down to make room for an innovative first-of-its-kind new bridge that will open in the summer of 2013.
That opening will be accompanied by a grand celebration that you won't want to miss.
In the coming weeks we will be putting a human face on the Memorial Bridge, providing something on its history and the evolving construction of a replacement structure. We'll give you interesting photos and facts about the ongoing work, all the major moments in the birth of this new and historic monument.
Before we go forward, let's go backward a bit to put the whole thing into perspective.
Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian sculptor, painter and architect, first conceived of a lift-bridge back in the 15th century, the idea being that the main span would be lifted upward so river traffic could travel either upstream or downstream under a bridge. Bridges, instead of being barriers to river traffic, became gateways to commerce.
That concept was expanded upon over the years, and a Canadian civil engineer trained at Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute in Troy, New York, named J.A.L. Waddell, perfected the idea and built hundreds of lift bridges around the world, including the Memorial Bridge.
And, as an extra interesting fact, the company that Waddell founded in 1914 formed the basis of the company -- HNTB -- that has designed the replacement bridge as well. The company doing the construction work is Archer Western.
At this point the 89-year-old bridge has been removed, and preparation is under way for the new, modern structure.
While the work going on right now is fairly dull from a visual standpoint, things will get busy at the end of this year as a new span for the Portsmouth side of the river is assembled at the New Hampshire state dock. That first span will be pieced together aboard the huge barge Cape Cod. Sometime in December, that first span will be floated down the river and placed on the Portsmouth side of the river -- as Mother Nature lifts the barge and span into position with the rising tide, the first step in having a new bridge will be started.
Because there are a lot of facts to digest, there are several links you'll want to check.
The first is brought to you by McFarland Johnson, the public relations company handling the overall presentation of information to the media. See that here:
The second important site to check is this:  It provides you with a real-time look at the work being done on the bridge.

York County Community College Loses a Great Leader

Dr. Charlie Lyons, 68, dies after battle with cancer

Dr. Charlie Lyons, president of York County Community College, died this past Wednesday after a battle with cancer.
“It is with great sadness that I notify you of the passing of Charlie Lyons, president of York County Community College,” said Dr. John Fitzsimmons, president of the
Maine Community College System. “Charlie passed away this morning after bravely facing the challenges of cancer. He was a devoted husband and father who always put his family first. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loving wife Barbara and their children.”
Lyons proudly served as a university and college president in Maine for seventeen years, and held various other leadership positions in higher education for twenty-two years. He was recognized as an advocate for students and a cheerleader for the importance of higher education in the lives of the people of Maine.
“Today, a family lost a husband and a father, and the state of Maine lost a great leader. We will all miss the energy and joy he brought to anyone in his presence,” Fitzsimmons said.
He had been appointed president of York County Community College in Wells in 2006. Described as a “dynamic and high energy leader,” Lyons was instrumental in transforming the college into a successful academic example.
He was former chair of the Maine Higher Education Council, chair of the Board of Visitors of the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland, and a senior member of the Clinical Research Review Committee at Maine Medical Center. He had also chaired the Maine Higher Education Partnership, a group of six UMS and MCCS presidents charged with creating seamless articulation agreements among the fourteen institutions that comprise the University of Maine and Maine Community College Systems.
When he was hired by YCCC in 2006, he was selected from a field of sixty candidates following a national search. The father of five, Lyons graduated from Madison High School in Maine and was living in Scarborough. His wife is Barbara Lyons, a special education teacher at Sanford Junior High School, where she has worked for the past twenty-three years.

Concert in Kennebunkport to Benefit Wounded Warrior Project

The First Congregational Church of Kennebunkport, 141 North St., is sponsoring the only State of Maine appearance of the Sharon Concert Band of Sharon, Massachusetts. Under the direction of Stephen Bell, this benefit concert will feature a variety of music, which will include some patriotic pieces, on Sunday, September 9, 3:30 to 5 p.m. outside at the Consolidated School, (in the gym if it rains). Bring your lawn chairs or blankets. The concert is being held to honor all who have served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan and to honor the memory of those lost on September 11, 2001. Participating in this event will be the Kennebunkport American Legion Post 159 Color Guard. The cost to attend will be your donation of any sum, with 100 percent of the donations going to the Wounded Warrior Project. Anyone unable to attend may mail a donation to the church address, or make an online donation to the Wounded Warrior Project Active members of the military may attend free of charge. First Church members will be providing a concession with proceeds going to the church. A reminder: the school property is a drug and alcohol free zone and this event is an alcohol free event.
The Sharon Concert Band was founded in 1988 by the late Roy Scott, under the auspices of the Sharon Recreation Deptartment in Massachusetts. The band has grown from a handful of Sharon residents to a large group of musicians ranging in age from teens to seventies. Members come from Sharon and area towns in Greater Boston and Rhode Island. Members include students, adults who picked up their instruments after many years, professional musicians, and music teachers. The Sharon Concert Band offers one of the best opportunities in the Boston/Providence area to make quality music in a collegial atmosphere. The band maintains an active performance schedule throughout the year. For more on the band,
Bell is in his fifth year as musical and artistic director for the concert band and the Roy Scott Big Band. He has served as the Director of Instrumental Music at Eastern Nazarene College, in Quincy, Massachusetts, where he directs two ensembles and instructs various instrumental method classes. A former music educator and director of music with the Rockland Public Schools, Bell is a recipient of the Lowell Mason Award presented by the Massachusetts Music Educators Association. For more information, contact church member Jan Dicey at 207-967-0641 or