Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joined with Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti, Jr. today to tour the Pleasant Valley Parkway Bridge project in Providence and to view one example of the many deficient bridges which RIDOT is going to fix as it moves forward with its RhodeWorks program. Work on the bridge has been fast-tracked, and is currently running months ahead of schedule.
Through its new project management delivery methodology, RIDOT coordinated with its construction contractor to initiate a planned total bridge closure on January 4. This action allowed the contractor sufficient time to do preliminary construction in conformance with environmental mandates and complete work in the river from late winter through early summer, avoiding fish migration. The jump-start means RIDOT will be able to reopen the bridge to traffic by the end of this year, seven months earlier.
RIDOT has adopted a new project management approach for administering its projects, which assigns a dedicated project management team to oversee all aspects of each construction project to ensure they are done on time, on budget and to proper specifications. This project and all new RIDOT projects are now led by a project manager, responsible for all project phases and tasks from initial planning to final completion.
"We're doing business differently at RIDOT, and it is working," said Governor Raimondo. "Construction of a bridge in the middle of Providence causes numerous inconveniences for motorists, and we need to restore these vital connections as efficiently as possible. By having a single point of accountability for each project, we are delivering better results for Rhode Islanders – and most importantly, making our roads safer.
RIDOT is replacing the Pleasant Valley Parkway Bridge through an $8.9 million budget with a contingency of $100,000. Built in 1973, the structurally deficient bridge carries approximately 41,000 vehicles per day on Dean Street over the Woonasquatucket River. It's been structurally deficient since 2009 and has had a weight limit of 25 tons in place since 2011. The weight limit imposed a negative economic impact on area businesses for the delivery of goods. Following construction, the weight limit will be lifted and the bridge will no longer be structurally deficient.
The project includes demolition of the old bridge deck and construction of a new one, reusing much of the existing foundations and supports. In order to reduce congestion in the area, the bridge will be widened from 33 feet to 64 feet, and also allow for the inclusion of dedicated bicycle lanes. Since the closure of the Pleasant Valley Parkway Bridge, crews have removed the existing beams from the bridge deck and its center pier and portions of the bridge abutments.
A new innovative bridge design element called NEXT Beams will be used to further accelerate and shorten the construction time. It's another example of RIDOT not only changing its organization and the way it does business, but also how it builds bridges.
"This is a new RIDOT," said RIDOT Alviti said. "Through the diligent oversight of our projects with our project management teams, we look forward to many more announcements like this, highlighting projects that are coming in on time and on budget, and delivering on our promises instead of explaining cost overruns or delays to taxpayers."
"In order to attract businesses we need safe and reliable infrastructure for our residents, commuters and visitors to travel on," said Mayor Elorza. "This project is the perfect example of the work being done to support a more prosperous future for our capital city and throughput the state."
Prior to beginning construction, the Department worked to lessen the impacts to local residents and the business community, including temporarily widening Promenade Street, and creating a one-way circulator to guide vehicles through the work zone. Other improvements include temporary traffic signals, and making portions of Acorn Street and Promenade Street one-way. To better accommodate students, staff and parents at the Paul Cuffee School, RIDOT also restricted Rathbone Street to school traffic only weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., with signage and police details present for assistance during peak traffic hours.
Upcoming operations include widening of the bridge abutments and pier in preparation for the bike lanes, and pile driving to install two new sections of the abutments. While RIDOT is on track to open the bridge to traffic by the end of 2016, additional work to finalize the project – including minor drainage work, landscaping and other miscellaneous construction activities – is scheduled to wrap up in July 2017.
Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007, 401-641-8934