Cost calculated for ‘defective’ IWAY railing

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Invoices reviewed by Target 12 indicate the cost of the on-going quest to determine what’s wrong with the IWAY bridge railing and how to repair it, is fast approaching a half million dollars.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation began investigating the railing system in May of 2013. An engineering report completed three months ago stated “the existing bridge railing system has been deemed defective and needs to be repaired.”

The problem prompted RIDOT to rent the Jersey barriers that now line both sides of the bridge, standing between traffic and the railing above the Providence River. Now, a set of RIDOT documents and pictures obtained by Target 12 pinpoint the issue to the installation of the concrete imbedded bolts that hold the railing to the 8 year old light blue bridge. The pictures show concrete was chipped away last year to get a closer look at how the bolts were installed. A letter to RIDOT from CDR Maguire engineering indicates steel reinforcement bars were apparently cut, which the letter stated was “not in accordance with the Contract Drawings.”

“The conclusion is that the anchor bolts were installed after the reinforcing steel was placed and the decision made by (parties unknown) to cut the interfering reinforcing steel or install the anchor bolts above the reinforcing steel,” the letter said.

RIDOT spokesperson Rose Amoros said it has yet to be determined how to repair the problem, how long it will take or how much that part of project will cost. In the meantime, the price tag for studying the issue is rising. Invoices indicate the engineering studies have cost taxpayers just over $316,000. The project also includes a 2 year, $165,000 contract with IWAY contractor Cardi Corporation for the rental of the Jersey barriers that have been in place since last September, bringing the the total to this phase of the project to about $481,000.

Amoros said it was the contractor’s responsibility to deliver the project based on the established design.

“We believe the repair is the responsibility of the contractor,” Amoros said. “The schedule (for repair) will be determined once we have an agreed upon design.”

Cardi Corporation’s Stephen Cardi Sr. said he could not comment on who will pay for the repairs because he has yet to see any of the engineering documents.

According to RIDOT, the problem with the bolt installation was discovered after a stretch of the railing was damaged by an apparent collision with a vehicle some time around last May. The department’s investigation began a short time later.

The $11 million, 2500 ton bridge is less than a decade old and was part of the $610 million Interstate 195 relocation project. In August of 2006, the light blue icon was pushed to Providence by barge about 12 miles from Quonset Point, where it was fabricated. The floating spectacle attracted shore line observers from across the state and the project was nominated for awards for innovation, and for being completed on time and on budget. According to RIDOT statistics, an estimated 160,000 vehicles a day travel across the bridge.

There’s no time frame for the repair project right now but the contract for rental of the Jersey barriers runs through August 31, 2015.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.

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