Newport Bridge project expected to impact travel

Rendering of upcoming lane restrictions on Newport Pell Bridge

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) – A significant multi-phase project is about to get underway on the Newport Pell Bridge, and traffic delays and backups are expected.

The R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority announced Monday plans to begin work to the bridge’s east approach, or the Newport side.

The project will consist of partial-depth hydro-demolition and replacement of the concrete roadway deck from curb to curb. It also includes removal of existing steel bearings from the bridge’s original construction in 1969. They will be replaced with new and modern elastomeric bearings.

Starting May 15, traffic will be limited to one lane in each direction on the Newport side of the bridge. Those lane restrictions will continue until June 29, when barges will be used to perform work underneath the bridge, so as not to worsen already congested summer bridge travel.

The project will also require prohibiting over-wide and overweight vehicles during that time frame.

Permanent lane restrictions will be put in place again from Sept. 19 to Dec. 22.

RITBA warned motorists to expect travel delays on the bridge during peak commuter hours. The agency will be providing “real time” traffic updates on its Facebook and Twitter accounts, and on its website.

Officials say the entire deck repair project is slated to take six to eight years to complete, with about 2,000 feet of bridge worked on at a time. The cost is currently estimated at $8.13 million. Aetna Bridge Company was awarded the contract on May 4.