The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced it will lower the posting of the Pawtucket River Bridge between Exits 27 and 28 in Pawtucket to 18 tons. Signs will be put in place by the end of the day. That means that loaded buses and trucks weighing more than 18 tons will no longer be permitted to cross the bridge. The bridge was originally posted at 22 tons in November 2007.
Trucks and loaded buses weighing more than 18 tons bypassing Providence should use I-295. Those headed to Providence from Massachusetts should use I-295 South to Route 146 South. Trucks and loaded buses more than 18 tons headed to Pawtucket will need to use the signed local detours. State Police will continue to partner with RIDOT for enforcement purposes.
“The Pawtucket River Bridge is safe,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “However, in an abundance of caution and to further preserve its deteriorating condition until the bridge is replaced, we are lowering the posting of this bridge.”
The Department has been committed to a rigorous inspection of the Pawtucket River Bridge, reviewing the critical areas of the bridge and focusing on those areas previously identified as deficient. Traditionally bridge inspections are done once every two years. However, due to its present condition, the Pawtucket River Bridge has a detailed inspection every six months. The latest inspection showed that the bridge continues to deteriorate, which has led to this new posting.
The Pawtucket River Bridge was built for 60,000 cars per day. Today volumes are nearly three times that amount at 162,000 vehicles per day. It was built in 1958 as part of the original Interstate system and carries traffic over Taft Street and the Pawtucket River.
More information, including detour routes, is available on the RIDOT website at www.dot.ri.gov. RIDOT’s Customer Service office, 401-222-2450, can answer additional questions and is open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.