RIDOT to Begin Installation of East Shore Expressway Bridge
PROVIDENCE, RI Using conventional construction methods, replacing the East Shore Expressway Bridge in East Providence would have resulted in a year of delays and congestion. Instead, RIDOT began an extended weekend closure of the bridge and replace it in just 80 hours.
"Projects like this highlight the work we're doing to not only rebuild our roads and bridges, but also to rebuild RIDOT," Governor Gina M. Raimondo said. "By being sensitive to the needs of the East Bay communities, and the impact long-term restrictions would have for residents and businesses in the area, RIDOT took a different approach to rebuild this bridge as quickly as possible."
"This bridge serves as the direct link to Rhode Island's East Bay communities, and it is vitally important that while we work to replace it as quickly as possible, we do so with minimum disruption to motorists," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. "Although there will be some inconvenience associated with the upcoming closure, it does represent the fastest path to getting this work done."
The replacement of the bridge, which carries traffic from I-195 West's Exit 7 to the East Shore Expressway southbound, will allow RIDOT to remove a 17-ton weight limit. This restriction has been in place for more than four years, requiring most truck traffic to divert on city streets. The East Shore Expressway Bridge is classified as functionally obsolete, with significant concrete cracking that limits its ability to service large vehicles, resulting in the weight limit.
In addition to closing I-195 West's Exit 7 to the East Shore Expressway southbound, RIDOT also will close a section of Warren Avenue under the bridge, with local traffic only between the Pawtucket Avenue and Highland Avenue intersections. I-195 West's Exit 8 will remain open to Warren Avenue, however traffic will only be able to turn left and head eastbound.
During the closure, RIDOT demolished the East Shore Expressway Bridge and completed work on the foundations for the new bridges. This set the stage for the main focal point of the operation - the installation of the entire bridge's superstructure (steel beams and concrete deck), which was built in temporary staging areas on top of large supports adjacent to the old bridge.
Once the bridge foundational elements are ready, RIDOT used large multi-wheel dollies to lift the new bridge off its supports, drive it down Warren Avenue, move it into position, and lower it on the new foundations. Finishing work to complete the riding surface between the bridge and the road segments on either side will come next, with the entire operation complete and all roads open to traffic. RIDOT has an incentive/disincentive clause in its contract - meaning that the contractor earned $9,000 for every hour it opens the bridge ahead of schedule or face an equivalent penalty if late.