Rhode Island DOT will replace structurally deficient bridges with slide-in construction

Updated May 7, 2016
The McCormick Quarry Bridge in East Providence is in extremely poor shape.The McCormick Quarry Bridge in East Providence is in extremely poor shape.

In 2014, data from the Federal Highway Administration ranked Rhode Island as the worst of the 50 states for structurally deficient bridges. With so many of its bridges needing to be rebuilt, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is planning to use a faster method for reconstruction.

WPRI.com reports that reconstruction will begin with the McCormick Quarry Bridge in East Providence, which has severely weathered wood and corroded concrete and steel. RIDOT plans to build a new bridge right next to the old one, and then, over the course of a few days, slide out the old bridge and slide in the new one.

RIDOT says the new method is far more efficient and has no additional cost. “In the old way of doing it, they would have had a detour here for a year, and now people have a detour for a few days,” Governor Gina Raimondo told the news agency on April 25.

“This project is on time, on budget, and we expect it to be completed a year before it would normally be completed, using conventional techniques,” RIDOT director Peter Alviti, Jr. told the news agency. â€œThe actual construction that we’ll be putting out this year is $140 million in bridges like this one, because of the RhodeWorks initiative.”

Since Rhode Island residents have been more and more skeptical about how tax dollars are spent, the DOT is also taking time to put up signs with price tags—and due dates—on bridges across the state. McCormick Quarry Bridge’s price tag is $16.7 million according to its sign.

“We’re going to do proper maintenance,” Governor Raimondo told the news agency. She also said the state would add project management, “so we never again have bridges get to be this bad.”

Out of the 750 bridges Rhode Island has, approximately 600 will be rebuilt or repaired during the next 10 years.