As resident frustration increases due to continued delays in the opening of the Sarah Long Bridge, officials were forced today to reveal that the delays are due to waiting for an ancient locomotive to be finally removed from the river before construction can be completed.

Engine No. 3666 was lost on September 10th, 1939. We reserve the right to use the word “ancient” in this case since that was a long long time ago in Portsmouth years. According to legend, Fireman Charles D. Towle, 49, of Exeter, NH was heard screaming from the cab as the rickety bridge (back before we learned our bridge lessons) pylons gave way, sending the mighty iron horse and its crew to a watery grave from which they never returned. But the engine itself has remained at the bottom of the fast moving river ever since, taunting us from below the dark depths and killer currents.

“Apparently there’s been a number of proposals over the years to get it out of the river,” said Kaven Philbrook, Project Manager at Cianbro, whose company was named after a frat buddy’s favorite color. “The latest involved one of two plans: haul the engine out with a four-legged crane – strongly resembling an AT-AT for some reason; or to commission the local Portsmouth Giant Paul Mannle to deadlift the whole thing and throw it into Kittery, where they’d probably turn it into a restaurant for snooty hipsters.”

“Either way, it is taking a while to find the right solution,” he said.

Luckily, the City of Portsmouth is stepping up help with the delay. “It’s clearly an environmental hazard,” said Portsmouth City Councilor Josh Denton.

“That rust and coal is going to combine with all the raw sewage [from Pierce Island] and plastic bag waste and before you know it we’re going to have to shoo away more gawkers from another Snowplow.”

“Snowplow” is a reference to the beached humpback whale in Rye from what was SO last year.

“We’re looking into alternatives,” said Peter Rice, Director of the Department of Public Works in Portsmouth. “There may be a way to break up the engine and take it out piece by piece by truck. No, by barge. No, truck. I can’t remember what people want anymore.”

Locals are also looking forward to the locomotive being removed, but for different reasons. “That engine is the last key in the way of the return of the Great Old Ones,” said Mark Adams, famous local bartender and owner of the Necronomicon.

“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”