The Rhode Island Department of Transportation opened the first span of the new Pawtucket River Bridge to traffic on I-95 North. The opening of this structure will allow RIDOT to lift the northbound 18-ton weight limit
that has required trucks and other large vehicles on I-95 North to use local detours or longer highway detours.
"This is a big milestone, a day we have been working hard toward ever since construction began on the new Pawtucket River Bridge," says RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. "All northbound trucks will be able to remain on I-95 and the northbound detour through Pawtucket will no longer be necessary."
With the opening of the first span of the new bridge, RIDOT will move rapidly to replace the existing northbound bridge. That structure is expected to be open by the end of this year, allowing the Department to shift I-95 southbound to it, thereby eliminating the southbound weight limit.
Once I-95 North traffic has been shifted to the new bridge, RIDOT will begin demolition of the old I-95 North bridge. This work is expected to take approximately two months, with demolition planned for daytime and overnight hours.
RIDOT will build the new northbound span in the same location as the original one. When it opens later this year, RIDOT will temporarily shift I-95 southbound traffic to it. At that point, all highway traffic will be on new structures and the weight limit will be completely lifted. Construction will continue, however, into 2013 with the demolition and reconstruction of the southbound bridge.
Detailed information, including detour maps, will be available at www.dot.ri.gov.