Constructed between 1920 and 1923, the bridge was the first without toll to span the Piscataqua between Portsmouth and Kittery. The bridge was constructed as a joint venture between the states of Maine and New Hampshire and the federal government. It was dedicated as a World War I memorial. Its plaque, above the entrance to the first truss span on the Portsmouth side, reads:
- “Memorial to the Sailors and Soldiers of New Hampshire who participated in the World War 1917-1919.”
Originally, the road over the bridge was part of New England Interstate Route 1, also known as the Atlantic Highway. When the New England routes were superseded by the United States Numbered Highways in 1926 it was redesignated as US 1.
The Memorial Bridge was a through truss lift bridge that for 88 years (1923-2011) carried U.S. 1 across the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Badger’s Island in Kittery, Maine, USA. The bridge was closed permanently to vehicle traffic on July 27, 2011, with a replacement to be built by July 2013. The bridge closed to pedestrians and cyclists on January 9, 2012. Removal of the main lift span of the bridge was completed on February 8, 2012.