Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced the first contract in a new bridge preservation program aimed at improved maintenance of bridges in the I-95 corridor from Warwick to Providence.
The goal of the program is to address issues with steel and concrete deterioration that eventually hasten the service life of these bridges and lead to more expensive rehabilitation or replacement projects that often involve full reconstruction of major bridge elements. Typically, this work is time-consuming and requires significant disruption to traffic with full or partial closures of the structures during construction.
"Proper maintenance of our transportation system is vitally important to the strength of our economy and the safety and well-being of our citizens," Governor Chafee said. "This bridge preservation program will pay numerous dividends: maintaining the structural integrity and safety of our bridges, putting Rhode Islanders in the construction industry to work, and avoiding the massive costs and traffic disruption caused by expensive replacement projects. This program aligns well with our ongoing efforts to implement a more proactive, fiscally responsible infrastructure plan in Rhode Island."
The first contract for $4.9 million, currently underway, was awarded to Cardi Corporation. It covers 13 bridges in the I-95 corridor in Warwick from the Route 4 interchange (Exit 9) to the bridge carrying I-95 over the Pawtuxet River between Exit 15 (Jefferson Boulevard) and Exit 16 (Route 10). This work is scheduled to be finished by Fall 2013.
Maintenance and repairs will be performed on bridges that pass over I-95 and those that carry I-95 over State and local roads. Combined with additional contracts in the next four years, RIDOT intends to address 30 bridges from Route 4 to the area of the Iway (I-195 Relocation Project) near Exit 19 in Providence. Once this section of I-95 is finished, RIDOT will expand the program to other highway corridors.
"This program will allow RIDOT to undertake preventative maintenance and repairs in a way we have not done before," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "We expect over the long term it will save money by reducing the number and frequency of more costly rehabilitation projects."
Without a maintenance and minor repair program, ongoing deterioration results in a number of bridges added to the list of structurally deficient bridges each year at a rate that equals or outpaces the number of bridges that are repaired. More than 150 bridges – about one out of every five bridges in Rhode Island – are considered structurally deficient and in need of rehabilitation. These bridges are inspected at least once every two years and are safe for travel.
The bridge preservation program includes bridge washing, replacement of deck joints, concrete patching and sealing, and steel repair as needed. In addition to addressing the structural needs of these spans, RIDOT is including bridge painting in the program. All steel bridges spanning over I-95 will be repainted in the same blue color as used on recent bridge construction in North Kingstown, East Greenwich and Providence. The color choice is a nod to Rhode Island's Naval and nautical heritage.
"While our top priority is the safety and longevity of these structures, we are well aware of the impression deteriorated bridge components give to Rhode Islanders and visitors to our State," Lewis said. "We are committed to improving both the condition and appearance of our highway system."
Bridges included in this initial contract, from south to north in Warwick, include:
• I-95 over Route 4 South • Cowesett Road over I-95 • I-95 over Route 117 (Centerville Road) • I-95 over Toll Gate Road • I-295 over I-95 South • Route 113 (East Avenue) over I-95 • Route 5 (Greenwich Avenue) over I-95 • Airport Connector over I-95 • Service Avenue over I-95 • Route 37 East over I-95 • Route 37 West over I-95 • I-95 over Jefferson Boulevard • I-95 over the Pawtuxet River
When bridges do need to be rehabilitated, RIDOT will evaluate them to determine if accelerated bridge construction techniques can be used. While not all bridges can be rehabilitated or replaced using these methods, the Department has witnessed great success with the rapid replacement of the Round Top Bridge in Burrillville in late 2010 and the Frenchtown Brook Bridge in August 2012. Similar approaches are planned for replacement of larger bridge structures in the next two years including the East Shore Expressway Bridge in East Providence, which carries traffic from I-195 East onto Exit 7 (Route 114) and over Warren Avenue, and the Barton Corner Bridge, which carries I-95 over Route 2 (Quaker Lane) on the Warwick/West Warwick line.
Contact: Charles St. Martin (401) 222-1362, Ext. 4007