In N.H., a Federal Grant Secures a Bridge

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire is expected to install cameras and build fences as part of security improvements on the Interstate 95 bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine.

A $100,000 federal grant for the work also would pay for alarms on the bridge, which crosses the Piscataqua River at the port of Portsmouth.

Security cameras would monitor traffic and provide surveillance of the underside of the bridge and harbor channel. Digital images from the cameras, along with images from cameras already installed on two nearby bridges, can be transmitted to local law enforcement agencies as well as the U.S. Coast Guard and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The grant will allow the state to continue tightening security in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"This will greatly enhance the surveillance capabilities in the harbor and assists in determining an adequate response to an event,'' state Transportation Commissioner Carol Murray wrote to the Executive Council, which must accept the grant. The council was to meet Wednesday.

"Any damage to, or closure of, this structure would severely disrupt transportation in northern New England and have significant economic impact to both states,'' Murray wrote.

The fences and alarms would be on land approaches on both sides of the bridge.

The council also was to vote on several million dollars in federal homeland security grants for state agencies including the state police, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Environmental Services.