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Travel Advisory: RIDOT Completes Unique Bridge Replacement in Coventry

Composite materials used in "Bridge-In-A-Backpack" design

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today reopened the Barbs Hill Road Bridge over the Moosup River in rural western Coventry. The $3.6 million bridge was replaced in just five months using composite materials.

This bridge was structurally deficient and so badly deteriorated it was posted at 3 tons, prohibiting trucks and school buses from crossing it. RIDOT completed the replacement of this bridge during the summer and fall months to coincide with a low-flow period for the Moosup River to minimize environmental impact.

"This is the second bridge we replaced using composite materials in just the past year," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. "We will continue to look at new methods and new technologies to quickly fix our ailing roads and bridges with the least amount of impact to traffic and the environment as possible."

The new Barbs Hill Road Bridge's superstructure was built using corrosion resistant fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) tubes in place of conventional steel rebar embedded in a concrete arch or concrete beams. Pre-cast concrete components also were used to expedite construction.

RIDOT utilized federal funds from the Federal Highway Administration's Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment Program. The design used a "Bridge-In-A-Backpack" system developed at the University of Maine and commercially offered by Advanced Infrastructure Technologies. The Department used this same design to replace the Railroad Avenue Bridge in Burrillville last year.

Final project completion is expected in Spring 2020. All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.

The replacement of the Barbs Hill Road Bridge is 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

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  • Department or agency: Department of Transportation
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  • Release date: 12-03-2019

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