The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it will reopen the Garden Street Bridge over I-95 in Pawtucket on Thursday, June 7, 2012. The bridge had been closed since May 2011 for reconstruction as part of a larger project to replace the Pawtucket River Bridge on I-95.
With the reopening of the Garden Street Bridge, RIDOT will be shifting the traffic pattern on the nearby George Street Bridge, which was restricted to southbound traffic only last year due to a rehabilitation project for that structure. Effective Friday, June 8, only northbound traffic will be allowed on the George Street Bridge. Work on the George Street Bridge is expected to conclude in late 2012, at which time normal two-way traffic will be restored.
These changes require the Department to modify many of the detour routes near the I-95 corridor in Pawtucket. In addition to a new detour route for George Street southbound traffic, motorists will find altered detour routes for Pleasant Street and Taft Street, which were closed in February 2011. These roads will remain closed until the end of the Pawtucket River Bridge project in late 2013.
Detour maps and turn-by-turn directions can be found on RIDOT's website at www.dot.ri.gov. Partly due to the number of one-way streets in the area, the detour routes are complex and require several turns to get around closed areas.
"These changes are necessary to keep the Pawtucket River Bridge project moving forward," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "We apologize for any inconvenience the detours may cause, and encourage motorists to visit our website and become familiar with the detour routes before driving them."
None of the changes will impact the existing truck detour for vehicles over 18 tons traveling on I-95 South.
Through an $81 million contract with S&R/Pihl, a Joint Venture, RIDOT is reconstructing nine bridges in the area of the Pawtucket River Bridge. Seven of the nine bridges are expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The next major bridge opening is expected in late Fall 2012, when RIDOT anticipates opening a new span of the Pawtucket River Bridge and shifting I-95 South traffic to it. That action will completely eliminate the 18-ton weight limit on the bridge. RIDOT removed the weight restriction for I-95 North on April 20, 2012.
Those 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 may be available on RIDOT's social media sites Twitter and Facebook.