The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is now scheduled to close a section of Taft Street in Pawtucket on Thursday, December 9, 2010 as part of the Pawtucket River Bridge Replacement Project. This section of road will remain closed for approximately three years.
RIDOT originally scheduled the closure for Monday, December 6, but with a slight postponement, additional work can be completed at key intersections to considerably shorten the detour routes. Partly due to the number of one-way streets in the area, the detours require several turns to get around closed areas.
Because of construction associated with building the new Pawtucket River Bridge, RIDOT must close Taft Street at the I-95 overpass, located between Division Street and Jenks Way. Signed detours will be established.
This closure is the first of many changes around the Pawtucket River Bridge motorists can expect during the bridge replacement project. RIDOT strongly encourages motorists to become familiar with the detour routes. The Department will post turn-by-turn directions and detour maps for each traffic pattern change on its website at www.dot.ri.gov. The detours will not impact existing local detours for truck traffic.
For the Taft Street closure, the follow detour routes will be in effect:
Taft Street Northbound: Turn left on Tower Street and then turn right on Pleasant Street. Turn right onto Jenks Way to return to Taft Street.
Taft Street Southbound: Turn right onto Jenks Way, and then turn left onto Pleasant Street. Follow Pleasant Street under I-95 and follow onto a section of Pleasant Street restriped for two-way traffic. Turn left onto Bowles Court and then take the next left to return to Taft Street.
Replacement of the Pawtucket River Bridge is a high priority for the Department. Through an $81 million contract with S&R Corporation/Pihl., Inc. a Joint Venture, RIDOT will replace the Pawtucket River Bridge. The bridge is composed of two structures that carry I-95 over the Seekonk River.
The project is scheduled for completion in Summer 2013. Enough construction should be completed by Spring 2012, however, so the Department can shift traffic to new structures and eliminate the bridgeís 18-ton weight limit. RIDOT has an early incentive clause with its contractor, with a maximum bonus of $4.5 million, that could result in the weight limit being lifted even sooner.
The contract will result in the construction of three new structures, replacing each bridge carrying northbound and southbound on I-95, and building another bridge to help carry highway traffic during phased construction. This third bridge will be permanent, and will carry on- and off-ramps to George and School Streets when the project is finished.
This construction method will allow the Department to replace the Pawtucket River Bridge as quickly as possible with no loss of travel lanes on I-95. The extent of the work, however, will affect travel on city streets in Pawtucket.
In approximately one month, RIDOT plans to close nearby Pleasant Street at the I-95 overpass. A series of road closures are planned next spring as RIDOT rehabilitates other bridges near the highway that are being addressed under this contract.
All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change.
Motorists with questions can contact RIDOTís Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additional information will be available on RIDOTís website (www.dot.ri.gov) and its social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Blogger.