The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced that it has reduced the posted weight limit for five bridges in the State. The postings are necessary to preserve the longevity of the bridges and ensure their continued safe use by motorists until they can be replaced or rehabilitated.
These bridges are located in Bristol, East Providence, Narragansett and Richmond. The average age of the bridges is more than 45 years old, which is the typical timeframe in which rehabilitation work is needed.
“The Department apologizes for any inconvenience these changes might cause, but safety is our number one priority,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “Setting weight limits are not desirable actions by the Department, but are necessary ones we must take based on the findings of our bridge inspections.”
Some of the bridges being posted are scheduled for repair and/or replacement in the immediate future. Specific information on each bridge is listed below. The bridges and their limits include:
The bridge carrying Colt Drive over Mill Gut Lake in Colt State Park in Bristol. RIDOT has established an 18-ton limit for this bridge. The park sees limited truck traffic. At this time, RIDOT does not have an estimated timetable for repairs to this bridge.
Two bridges at the Taunton Avenue interchange with I-195 in East Providence. These include the bridge that carries traffic on the off-ramp from I-195 East at Exit 4 (Riverside) to Veterans Memorial Parkway (posted at 14, 19 and 29 tons for two, three and five axle vehicles, respectively). The restriction does not affect traffic using the same off-ramp to reach Taunton Avenue.
The other bridge at this interchange carries traffic from Veterans Memorial Parkway to I-195 West. That bridge is now posted at 10, 13 and 21 tons for two, three and five axle vehicles, respectively.
Vehicles heavier than the posted limits should use the Warren Avenue, Broadway or Pawtucket Avenue interchanges to and from I-195 in East Providence. Veterans Memorial Parkway itself carries a 5-ton weight limit per State law, and as such, these bridges see limited use by trucks.
Both of these bridges are under design and RIDOT anticipates beginning rehabilitation projects for them in the next two years.
The bridge carrying traffic from Route 108 (Point Judith Road) to Route 1 North, adjacent to the intersection of Point Judith Road and South Pier Road. The bridge is now posted at 14, 24 and 29 tons for two, three and five axle vehicles, respectively. RIDOT has established a short detour for trucks by following Route 108 North to the Dillon Rotary and accessing a ramp there to Route 1 North.
This bridge is slated to be reconstructed soon along with the nearby bridges that carry Route 1 over Point Judith Road. These bridges will be repaired using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and construction should begin later this summer.
The bridge carrying Kings Factory Road over the Pawcatuck River. The bridge is now posted at 12, 14 and 25 tons for two, three and five axle vehicles, respectively. Kings Factory Road is a rural road connecting Route 91 to Route 1, and trucks can use either Route 216 or Route 112 as alternate routes to and from Route 1. At this time, RIDOT does not have an estimated timetable for repairs to this bridge.
RIDOT determined the weight limits after reviewing the results of recent bridge inspections. All 772 bridges in Rhode Island are inspected at least once every two years, and the Department inspects numerous bridges on a more frequent basis depending on their age and level of deterioration.
More information about the condition of Rhode Island’s bridges can be found online at www.dot.ri.gov/engineering/bridges/index.asp. Motorists can also contact RIDOT’s Customer Service Division at 222-2450 on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.