The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today celebrated the reopening of the Simmonsville Bridge in Johnston, which has been closed since July. RIDOT completely replaced this structurally deficient bridge in less than five months.
By coordinating with the community to completely close this bridge and detour traffic, RIDOT was able to make use of accelerated bridge construction methods on this $2.8 million project to quickly replace the structure. Had conventional construction methods been used and the bridge remain open to traffic, it would have taken two full construction seasons to complete this work.
"This is another example of what the public can come to expect out of their DOT," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said. "While not possible on every project, we look for every opportunity to deploy these accelerated bridge construction methods to complete our road and bridge work quickly with as little impact to traffic as possible. We understand the inconvenience construction can have on people's daily lives and are committed thinking outside the box and employ methods that allow us to do our work in the most efficient manner possible."
"I commend the R.I. Department of Transportation for the work they have done. They did a great job in such an expeditious manner to make the Simmonsville Avenue Bridge safe again for those residents who drive over the bridge every day," Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena said.
This bridge had been deteriorating for years and had a weight limit as low as 10 tons for some type of trucks. Originally built 70 years ago, the bridge carries approximately 6,600 vehicles daily on Simmonsville Avenue over the Simmons Brook. The road is a direct connection between Atwood Avenue (Route 5) and Plainfield Pike (Route 14) where it meets the I-295 interchange.
The accelerated bridge construction methods included the use of pre-manufactured bridge units. When installed side-by-side, they rapidly create a new bridge deck and save considerable time as opposed to the conventional approach for forming and pouring a concrete bridge deck. RIDOT also used a reinforced soil foundation system, which avoids the need for deep foundations. It also provides a smoother transition from roadway to bridge to help alleviate the "bump at the end of the bridge" problem caused by settlement over time between the bridge's abutment and the approaching roadway. To enhance the bridge's longevity, RIDOT used fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites in place of traditional steel rebar, which is subject to corrosion over time.
While the new roadway was reopened today, additional construction remains on the bridge including casting new sidewalks on both sides and landscaping work. RIDOT is striving to complete as many tasks as possible before the winter. Final completion of all tasks associated with this project is expected in Spring 2019.
The replacement of the Simmonsville Avenue Bridge was made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT's ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island's transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair, promote economic development, and create jobs. Learn more at www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks.