RIDOT completes inspections of structurally deficient bridges

Photo: WPRI / Susan Campbell

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has completed inspections of 230 structurally deficient bridges across the state, the department announced Monday.

According to RIDOT, the last bridge was inspected on August 14.

The state’s accelerated inspection program resulted in the emergency closure and reconstruction of the Park Avenue bridge in Cranston. Lane closures and repairs on the Pawtucket Avenue bridge in East Providence and the Mineral Spring Avenue bridge in Pawtucket were also done.

In all, RIDOT said 28 bridges had critical issues and needed immediate repairs.

“As we focus on rebuilding our infrastructure, our top priority is keeping Rhode Islanders safe,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “This accelerated inspection program helped us get engineers on the ground to put eyes on every one of our structurally deficient bridges.

The program was developed in May, according to RIDOT, with the goal having each bridge inspected by mid-August.

State officials say one out of every five bridges in Rhode Island is considered to be “structurally deficient.”  According to Federal Highway Administration data from 2014, Rhode Island is ranked last in the country for structurally deficient bridges.

Mineral Spring Avenue bridge in Pawtucket (Photo: WPRI/ Susan Campbell)
Mineral Spring Avenue bridge in Pawtucket (Photo: WPRI/ Susan Campbell)

“Given what I saw in my first eight weeks, I suspected that there were other bridges that needed to be addressed,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. “While the results are certainly not surprising, they helped us target several structures that needed immediate attention before a larger problem developed.”

The Park Avenue bridge was closed suddenly in June after inspectors found “significant deterioration in the bridge’s timber deck,” RIDOT said. It was reopened less than a month later after workers made emergency repairs.

‘The only motivation here is the safety of the motoring public. That is the governor’s prime directive to us and that is our mission at DOT – to make sure that every person that enters onto our highways goes home safely,” Alviti said.

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