Tonight’s the night: Street closing for ‘Jenga’ bridge replacement

The bridge that will replace the McCormick Quarry Bridge, which carries the East Shore Expressway over Warren Avenue in East Providence, R.I., September, 2016. The new bridge was built in a vacant lot next to the old one. (WPRI-TV)
The bridge that will replace the McCormick Quarry Bridge, which carries the East Shore Expressway over Warren Avenue in East Providence, R.I., September, 2016. The new bridge was built in a vacant lot next to the old one. (WPRI-TV)

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As of 9 p.m. Friday, Warren Avenue in East Providence will be closed between Pawtucket Avenue and Highland Avenue, where it goes underneath the McCormick Quarry Bridge, which takes the East Shore Expressway down to I-195 West.

The old bridge will be torn down after the old concrete supports wore away over several years and railroad ties were stacked underneath to shore it up — which may have been a stopgap measure only being fixed now. It made some neighbors leery, especially when a car crashed into them in 2014.

In that crash, one pillar of ties became skewed out of position, and one edge block did come out, but everything else remained standing. A plan to replace the bridge soon followed.

east-providence-jenga-bridge-closer-blocksSome compare the pillars of ties to the Hasbro game “Jenga,” where players remove bricks from a stacked tower turn by turn until it topples.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation says it plans to have the new bridge installation finished by Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. It’s the second in a series, after the other half of the expressway over Warren Avenue was replaced September 13.

Only local traffic to homes and businesses will be allowed on Warren Avenue between Pawtucket Avenue and Highland Avenue. Detours will take surface street drivers to Waterman Avenue, and drivers will be diverted off the expressway to Pawtucket Avenue to get to the interstate.

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