The Middle Road Bridge over Route 4 will be closed for two months this summer. Credit: EG News
Get ready to be inconvenienced. The state Dept. of Transportation said it will close the Middle Road bridge over Route 4 from June 23 to August 20.
The $315,000 project will focus on repairs to the bridge deck and joints, as well as some sidewalk reconstruction, according to DOT spokesman Bryan Lucier. The project is part of a $4.9 million statewide bridge repair contract affecting nine communities.
“This job will require a full closure of Middle Road at the bridge,” Lucier said, via email. “The closure is being timed with the end of classes at East Greenwich High School to minimize the overall impact, and we will keep the community updated as the construction schedule is finalized. Detour routes will be established using South County Trail, Division Street and Howland Road. We apologize for any inconvenience this work may cause.”
School Supt. Victor Mercurio announced the bridge closure last week. He said DOT first contacted him a year ago, but then told him the work had been shelved. A month ago, he learned DOT was considering it again. Final confirmation of the work arrived last Wednesday.
Alternatively, Town Manager Tom Coyle only learned of it after being notified by Mercurio last week.
“We’re kind of taken back,” Coyle said Monday. “I hadn’t received anything.”
DOT did not respond to a request for information about its notification process.
While the bridge closure will be a big headache for area residents, it will also put a strain on emergency responders when time can be of the essence.
“We’re going to sit with fire and police and strategize about calls,” said Coyle.
He said he anticipated traffic to worsen at both the Division Street and Frenchtown Road intersections with Route 2 which, he conceded, were already not great.
While school will not be in session during the closure, the high school is “far from empty” during the summer, Mercurio noted. Many camps take place there, among other uses.