R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee joined the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and East Providence Mayor Bruce Rogers Friday to celebrate the reopening of the Ten Mile River Bridges in East Providence. The bridges were originally scheduled to reopen in late 2013, but RIDOT worked with its contractor to reduce the closure to less than one year.
"Even though closing this bridge was necessary, we must always keep the impact on the community in mind," said Chafee. "I applaud the staff at RIDOT, the contractor and everyone who worked to reopen this bridge as quickly as possible."
The bridges, which carry North Broadway over the Ten Mile River and another small stream, were closed late last year because of deterioration found during a scheduled inspection. Through a $3 million contract with D'Ambra Construction of Warwick, RIDOT completely replaced the superstructures on both bridges and reopened them to traffic on November 16.
"I am pleased to see the Ten Mile River Bridges open ahead of schedule," said Sen. Jack Reed, who played a key role in passing the transit component of MAP-21, the two-year transportation reauthorization bill signed into law earlier this year. "The reopening of both bridges will help ease noise and traffic for residents in the area and strengthen Rhode Island's infrastructure."
"We must ensure that our state's roads and bridges are safe and secure for Rhode Island drivers," said U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. "The Ten Mile River bridges had deteriorated to the point of being unsafe, and I commend RIDOT for acting swiftly to replace them, finishing repairs almost a year earlier than expected and cutting down on inconveniences for commuters."
Built in the early 1960s, the old bridges were rated structurally deficient, and RIDOT was in the process of awarding a replacement contract when they were closed in December 2011. Based on the early closure and conversations with the community, RIDOT approached D'Ambra and asked for proposals to reduce the closure time. By negotiating an access agreement with the owners of the nearby Agawam Hunt Club and working on both bridges simultaneously, the project was completed in just one construction season.
"The department is consistently researching ways to become more efficient and shorten closure times," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "Whether it is new technology or a new process, we will continue to explore better, faster and smarter ways to complete transportation projects."
The bridge replacement eliminates a lengthy detour for commercial traffic that was put into place when the bridge was posted at 3 tons in July 2011. Minor work may continue on the structures throughout the winter, with some landscaping work scheduled for early spring.
"The residents of East Providence are very excited and thankful that the state took the concerns of the community to heart and completed the bridge repair in half the time," East Providence Mayor Bruce Rogers said. "This is not only a main thoroughfare but also a key access road for emergency vehicles."