The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is preparing to close the center channel under the old Sakonnet River Bridge on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 as part of ongoing construction on the new Sakonnet River Bridge. The U.S. Coast Guard is planning to place navigation buoys in the Sakonnet River to create a temporary channel just to the west of the center channel.
Following the center channel closure on September 6, RIDOT will position barges and cranes to allow for the setting of steel beams for the new bridge. The next day, Wednesday, September 7, the Coast Guard will begin work to establish the temporary channel. The temporary channel is expected to open on Thursday, September 8.
The temporary channel will allow for passage of most vessels with a vertical clearance of 47 feet and a maximum depth of 17 feet. The temporary channel is narrower than the center channel, and passage through it will be restricted to one boat at a time in each direction. The temporary channel is further restricted to transit during daylight hours and within one hour of slack tide (at the time of high tide or low tide, when the current is calmest). More information will be issued by the Coast Guard in a Notice to Mariners.
The center channel will be reopened in about one month. All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change.
Motorists with questions can contact RIDOT's Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 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