Rhode Island's Washington Bridge Will Need to Be Replaced

March 15, 2024
An independent review of the Washington Bridge found additional structural deficiencies requiring that it be replaced

On Thursday, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee said the Washington Bridge that was partially shut down in December over safety concerns will need to be demolished and replaced.

An independent review of the Washington Bridge found additional structural deficiencies requiring that it be replaced, McKee said at a press conference.

According to McKee the state must replace both the bridge's superstructure and part or all of the substructure.

“We’re going to fix the bridge, we're going to make it right, and we’re going to make sure we keep people safe," he said.

McKee said his administration is investigating what led up to the need to shut down and replace the bridge.

Peter Alviti, director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), said the new bridge should be substantially completed with traffic flowing between March and September of 2026.

The cost to demolish and replace the bridge should come in between $250 million and $300 million, he said. The state is looking at a range of sources for the funding including federal grants.

During the construction of the new bridge, six lanes of traffic will be rerouted, three in each direction, on the eastbound bridge structure.

Alviti said the eastbound bridge is a separate structure. The state had a structural engineering company determine that it was safe to carry six lanes — and then had a second engineering company to review the first company's work to confirm the bridge is safe, he said.

Alviti said the Department of Justice is conducting a separate investigation into the need to suddenly shut down the bridge.

Alviti had warned of the bridge’s poor condition in a 2019 grant application to rehabilitate the bridge and make improvements to traffic flow, writing that it was “nearing a permanent state of disrepair.”

The bridge has an inspection frequency of 24 months, according to federal data. State officials said it was last inspected in July.


Source: WCVB.com

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