PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation closed the Atwells Avenue Bridge on Monday for the next year.
Construction crews are rehabilitating the overpass that carries Atwells Avenue over the Woonasquatucket River in Providence.
Signed detours are in effect. Drivers heading westbound on Atwells Avenue will use Eagle Street and Valley Street, while eastbound traffic will follow Valley Street, Delaine Street and Harris Avenue.
A short section of Harris Avenue, from 321 Harris Avenue (the Capitol Records building) to Eagle Street, will be closed to westbound traffic. Two-way traffic will be maintained from Sims Avenue to 321 Harris Avenue, as will access for all local businesses. Motorists heading west on Harris Avenue past 321 Harris Avenue will need to follow a detour using Sims Street and Kinsley Avenue to reach Eagle Street and Valley Street.
All detour maps are available here.
Pedestrian access and driveway entries to the Eagle Square shopping plaza will be maintained throughout the life of the project. During construction, the bus stop located on Atwells Avenue at the bridge in front of Price Rite will be temporarily relocated to Valley Street, across from Newark Street. See www.ripta.com for more information as it becomes available.
Businesses in the area know the work is needed, but fear it will hurt business. The owner of Vasilio’s Pizza said it will affect both his dine-in customers and delivery drivers, since half of his customers are on the far side of the closed bridge.
“It’s just going to be such a hassle going around all the detours, all the traffic that’s going to be built up,” said John Kossefi. “It’s such a main road over here, it’s very hectic.”
The work is part of a $2.5 million project with the John Rocchio Corp. to replace the top portion of the bridge, which was damaged during the floods of 2010. By closing the bridge completely, RIDOT is able to save money and complete the project in about half the time it would take if one lane of travel were left open.