The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that work has begun to repair the Park Avenue Bridge over Amtrak's Northeast Corridor in Cranston, with the goal of reopening the span in a month's time.
On Friday afternoon, RIDOT awarded a $411,000 contract to John Rocchio Corp. - the lowest of five bidders - for a complete replacement of the bridge's timber deck. The project requires the contractor to complete the deck replacement, including repaving, in 30 days. The timeframe is contingent upon weather and cooperation with Amtrak for adequate electrical outages of the Northeast Corridor catenary system to allow the contractor access under the bridge.
On Friday night, RIDOT's Highway and Bridge Maintenance crews removed the asphalt surface on the bridge to enable the contractor to begin work as quickly as possible. On Monday morning, RIDOT met with Amtrak officials and held a utility coordination meeting. On Monday afternoon, John Rocchio Corp. began mobilizing and bringing materials to the site.
"We have been working diligently on this issue since we were notified of the bridge's condition and closed it last week," said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. "We are accelerating all phases of this project, including design and contractor selection, and are committed to getting this vital link restored for the community in the shortest time possible."
When the bridge reopens to traffic, it will still include a 16-ton weight limit and the bridge will remain structurally deficient. RIDOT already has begun design work on a permanent replacement for the bridge. A timeframe has not been determined, but the Department is examining design-build and accelerated bridge construction methods that could significantly shorten the time required to build a new bridge. RIDOT will remain in close coordination with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to identify federal funding or grant opportunities to help finance the cost.
While the bridge is closed to traffic, pedestrians and cyclists can still cross it. Barrels and temporary fencing and barriers with signs are in place directing pedestrians to the sidewalk area while deck repairs continue.
During the reconstruction, motorists traveling on Park Avenue will be directed to detour routes with standard and electronic message signs. Detour routes include:
* Park Avenue Eastbound: Use Reservoir Avenue north and take the on-ramp to Route 10 South. Take the exit onto Park Avenue.*
* Park Avenue Westbound: Use the on-ramp to Route 10 North, then take the exit to Reservoir Avenue south and follow to Park Avenue.
* Local Traffic Detour: Local traffic on Park Avenue should use Elmwood Avenue and Wellington Avenue to detour around the bridge closure. The road will remain open to local traffic on either side of the bridge.
RIDOT is conducting an accelerated inspection program for Rhode Island's over 200 structurally deficient bridges. Teams of engineers from seven bridge consultant companies are performing inspections statewide and will report their findings as they complete inspections. They have been directed to complete this effort by mid-August.
During the inspection of the Park Avenue Bridge, engineers noted the timber planks that make up the deck were stressed from the weight of automobile traffic. RIDOT, in concurrence with the FHWA, closed the bridge on Tuesday, June 23.
The Park Avenue Bridge was built in 1906, and was last rehabilitated in 1991. While most bridges in the state are inspected every two years, RIDOT has been inspecting this bridge every year to keep a close eye on the deterioration. Before this week, the bridge was last inspected in September 2014.
To sign up for weekly updates on RIDOT projects around the state, contact email@example.com. Visit www.dot.ri.gov or follow RIDOTnews on Facebook or Twitter for timely information on construction projects and traffic conditions.
Charles St. Martin (O):401-222-1362 x4007 (C):401-641-8934