DOT Hits Pause on Temporary Bridge After Sag Detected

by | Sep 14, 2020

For the past year, the state Department of Transportation has been clearing land and constructing a temporary bridge parallel to the 53-year-old Division Street bridge over Route 4. The plan was for traffic to be redirected over that temporary bridge this fall, followed by demolition and construction of a permanent replacement. That plan is now on hold, after a sag in the arch on the southbound side of the bridge was detected a few weeks ago.

The detour over the temporary bridge on Division Street over Route 4 remains closed as the temporary bridge is being investigated.

“We’ve done a number of investigations on the bridge. As it stands now, it’s stable,” said DOT spokesman Charles St. Martin. It’s safe for cars driving under it, he said. But the DOT isn’t ready to reroute traffic onto the temporary bridge just yet. 

St. Martin said he could not provide a timeline for when that might happen.

The current bridge was built in 1967 and is classified as structurally deficient. DOT made repairs three years ago but replacement has been on the books for some time. In 2019, DOT said the estimated cost of the project was $23.8 million.

DOT has used a number of types of accelerated bridge construction in recent years – the work gets done faster and without as much traffic disruption. However, St. Martin said this is the first time this sort of bridge – metal arches topped with fill and covered in asphalt – has been used in Rhode Island. 

“Part of the investigation is how it was put together. Was the fill applied to the structure at the correct rate?” he said. 

St. Martin said any costs associated with the delay or if a fix is needed will be borne by the contractor – Cardi Construction – and not the state. 

“They’ve been working on it for the past several weeks,” he said. “They are still hopeful to move traffic over sometime this fall.”

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September 16, 2020 8:18 am

I have been watching this bridge be built – there are tons of gravel on top if the arches, being held in place by nothing more than some wooden stakes and what looks like landscape cloth – I have been wondering what happens when a car clips one or several of those stakes. The gravel will spill out onto the road below, and the roadbed will collapse, taking vehicles with it. I will be avoiding this thing. I’m no engineer, but to me it looks like a horrible accident waiting to happen.

December 1, 2020 5:42 pm

If one is having a problem don’t u think the other side is if they both spect out the same way. You would think that the DOT would stop all work to be done and remove the 2 bridges and start all over again for the safety of the people that travel under those 2 bridges everyday and do some more research before starting over again.


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