The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is scheduled to reopen the Clarence L. Hussey Memorial Bridge in Wickford for the summer months, three weeks ahead of schedule, by the end of the day on Saturday, June 4. The bridge has been closed for repairs since April 1 and was originally scheduled to reopen for the summer by June 25.
"Thanks to close coordination with the community through our project management team, we split the project into multiple phases with plans to reopen the bridge to minimize the impact of our work during the height of the summer tourism season," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. "Our goal is to keep our projects on time and on budget, and in this case, we've been able to shorten our expected closure time so we can reopen this vital link for the town and for South County sooner and reduce the impact on local residents and businesses."
The Hussey Bridge dates back to 1925 and was designed by and named for the first government-appointed bridge engineer, Clarence Loring Hussey. It is structurally deficient and carries approximately 13,600 vehicles per day on Route 1A (Boston Neck Road) over Wickford Cove.
Through a $2.8 million project, which includes a $1.7 million bridge rehabilitation contract and a budget contingency of $197,000, RIDOT is working to maintain as much of the historical elements as possible, including the concrete through arch and its railings. All steel components above the water surface will be painted a graphite color to match the original, and all concrete surfaces will receive a special mineral coating that is designed to better withstand the natural elements. The project also features pedestrian-specific safety enhancements, including sidewalk, roadway, and railing repairs. To date, RIDOT has replaced the sidewalks, completed concrete repairs to the bridge's superstructure, and repaired the railings and primed them in preparation for painting.
During the summertime, crews will continue working on the bridge, focusing on activities that will not affect vehicular or pedestrian traffic, including work under the bridge. Both sidewalks remain open to the public, and the channel remains passable to boating traffic. There may be brief periods when access is temporarily limited for safety considerations. The second phase of construction involves another brief closure of the bridge, scheduled for September 6 through November 16. The overall project remains on budget, and one month ahead of schedule, with final completion expected in Spring 2017.
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Contact: Charles St. Martin (401) 222-1362, Ext. 4007