Drivers encounter significant delays as Pell Bridge work continues

Rendering of upcoming lane restrictions on Newport Pell Bridge

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — Repair work on the Newport Pell Bridge resumed this week and those who drive through the area can expect to see travel delays for almost the entire month of June.

As crews work to repair the bridge deck, travel has been reduced to just one lane in both directions. This has led to considerable traffic backups, especially during peak hours.

The lane closures don’t span the entire length of the bridge, but enough so that traffic gets significantly tied up.

The first phase of the project is expected to run through June 29. After that, work will be performed under the bridge so all lanes will be back open until September 19, when they’ll once again be reduced until the project wraps up in late December.

The state Turnpike and Bridge Authority says the work is absolutely necessary to ensure and maintain the bridge deck’s integrity.

As for the timing – right at the start of the summer tourist season – the RITBA said it’s so that the air and water temperatures are warm enough to allow the concrete to harden.

In the above video, Eyewitness News reporter Kim Kalunian gets a firsthand look at the traffic backups during rush hour Wednesday evening.