The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding motorists that it will be closing the Union Avenue Bridge over Route 10 in Providence tomorrow, Wednesday, June 23, 2010. The bridge will be closed to all traffic, including pedestrians, for approximately two years. A series of detours will be marked and RIDOT has arranged for free RIPTA bus service in the area during the bridge closure.
The 52-year-old bridge is structurally deficient and must be replaced. Only by completely closing this bridge can it be replaced safely and quickly. The $8.1 million project will be built by Aetna Bridge of Pawtucket.
The Union Avenue Bridge is one of a few bridges crossing Route 10 in Providence and the most direct route to and from the West End and Silver Lake neighborhoods. Traffic volumes on Union Avenue are significant, and congestion along the detour routes can be expected - especially during the morning and afternoon rush hours. During busy periods, motorists may wish to seek alternate routes to avoid this area.
“We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this closure may cause,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “This bridge must be replaced and only by closing it during construction can we complete this project in the quickest and safest manner possible.”
Last week, RIDOT conducted a public workshop in the area at Asa Messer Elementary School to explain the project and detour routes and to answer questions from the public.
RIDOT has been working on Route 10 and on local streets near the Union Avenue Bridge this spring in advance of this closure. Traffic signals on Cranston Street have been upgraded to help move more traffic through the area, and RIDOT has built a small roadway between Huntington Avenue southbound and Huntington Avenue northbound to help detouring traffic.
During the design phase of this project, RIDOT analyzed pedestrian traffic volumes on the bridge along with vehicular traffic volumes. Because of the high number of pedestrians, RIDOT arranged to provide free bus service on RIPTA’s Bus # 18 Union Avenue throughout the duration of the project. Visit RIPTA’s website at www.ripta.com for more information.
RIDOT will be posting signs for detour routes depending on destination. Information on these are listed below and on RIDOT’s website at www.dot.ri.gov/travelri/UnionAveBridge.asp. No detours are required for travel from Route 10 southbound to Union Avenue westbound or from Route 10 northbound to Union Avenue eastbound.
Turn-by-Turn Detour Directions:
Union Avenue Eastbound: Turn right onto Huntington Avenue. At the intersection with Cranston Street, turn left through a new opening that allows traffic to reverse direction and use Huntington Avenue North. Use the on-ramp to Route 10 North to reach the Union Avenue exit. Trucks should follow Cranston Street directly to Union Avenue.
Union Avenue Westbound: Turn left onto Linwood Avenue. Turn right onto Cranston Street. Turn right onto Webster Avenue. Return to Union Avenue.
Route 10 North to Union Avenue Westbound: Take the Niantic Avenue exit. At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Niantic Avenue. Turn left onto Cranston Street. Turn right onto Webster Avenue. Return to Union Avenue.
Route 10 South to Union Avenue Eastbound: Take the Cranston Street/Garfield Street exit. At the ramp, turn right onto Garfield Street. Turn right onto Cranston Street. Turn left to return to Union Avenue.
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