The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced that it has selected a contractor to repair a bridge on Route 138 in Richmond that was closed yesterday due to damage caused by historic flooding conditions in March. The Department has elected to fast-track the repairs with the goal of opening the road to travel in a much shorter timeframe than originally expected.
RIDOT has instructed the contractor, Aetna Bridge Company, to complete repairs and reopen the bridge by late Friday – in advance of the University of Rhode Island’s Commencement Ceremonies this coming weekend. Aetna will be working 24 hours a day toward that goal.
“Commencement ceremonies at URI are among the largest events and biggest generators of traffic in South County each year,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “We are pleased to be able to accelerate this work. However, it should be noted that all construction projects are subject to delay from adverse weather and other conditions. While reopening the bridge by the weekend is our goal, it cannot be guaranteed.”
RIDOT will be working with local communities and URI to provide recommended routes with advance signage should the bridge remain closed this weekend. Until then, RIDOT is detouring traffic along Route 2 and Route 112 to bypass the closure.
An underwater inspection on the bridge over the Usquepaugh River revealed that the bridge’s abutments were undermined by the swift currents during the flood. This bridge – along with all spans across major rivers in Rhode Island – was continuously monitored during the floods for any sign of deterioration. The bridge showed no visual signs of deterioration at that time or as the flood waters receded.
Motorists with questions can contact RIDOT’s Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additional information will be available on RIDOT’s website (www.dot.ri.gov) and its social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Blogger.
Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007