A Rhode Island bridge that has been deemed structurally deficient for almost two decades has been replaced six months ahead of schedule, says the state’s department of transportation.
The Rhode Island DOT says more such projects are to come as the state tries to dig out from its bottom rating in the country for bridge and road conditions. In 2016, the state launched the country’s first – and controversial – commercial truck-only toll to raise revenue for road and bridge projects. Passenger cars and small trucks are exempt from the toll.
The project to replace the Central Street Bridge in North Smithfield on Route 5 over Route 146 cost $7.7 million.
The Rhode Island DOT says the expedited bridge work is the result of a new way of doing business by moving faster to complete projects, which minimizes traffic delays and reduces costs. The extra revenue from federal sources and commercial truck tolls is providing the necessary funding. About 80 percent of the money for the bridge came from the federal government. RIDOT says about one-tenth of its road and bridge replacement fund is derived from the truck toll. RIDOT says the goal is to bring 90 percent of the bridges in the state to structural sufficiency by 2025.
The Central Street Bridge was built in 1959 and had a 24-ton weight limit. The new bridge is open to all legal-load trucks. The work, under contractor Cardi Corp., included removal of the bridge’s superstructure, pier caps, wing walls, columns and approach slabs. A new superstructure and substructure were built. Approach roads were reconstructed, and Route 146 near the bridge was repaved.