Local commuters will soon face a months-long detour along one of the city’s main west-to-east routes.
Starting March 11, motorists traveling east on Route 12 will be rerouted from a portion of the roadway between Dyer and Gansett avenues as rehabilitation work is conducted on the bridge carrying Park Avenue over the Pocasset River, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.
Eastbound motorists will be directed left onto Dyer Avenue, right onto Cranston Street and right onto Gansett Avenue to reconnect with Park Avenue.
Westbound traffic will not be affected, according to RIDOT, and local businesses will remain accessible.
“RIDOT estimates that the detour will be in place until mid-December 2019,” a news release from the agency reads. “Two-way traffic would then resume while the overall construction at the bridge would continue until spring of 2020. Weather or construction related delays could affect this schedule.”
Mayor Allan Fung said his administration is working to ensure area residents are notified of the closure. He also said the city will work with businesses in the area.
“We want to get the word out, because that is going to be a significant impact … People have to be prepared,” he said. “We’re going to try to outreach also to the businesses to the best extent that we can … You’ve got a lot of small business owners who are going to be impacted by that closure.”
According to RIDOT, the bridge was constructed in 1960 and carries approximately 18,000 vehicles each day. It is listed as being structurally deficient.
“RIDOT originally planned to finish this project by summer 2021, but is working with its contractor to complete construction as quickly as possible,” the agency’s news release states. “The decision to start construction this winter instead of waiting until spring is expected to trim months off the time the detour will be needed.”
Temporary barriers along the curb line in both directions are already in place on the bridge. According to RIDOT, those barriers have been needed “to prevent any vehicles from driving over the most heavily deteriorated portions.”
“RIDOT will replace the bridge’s deck and supporting beams, and rehabilitate the bridge’s abutments,” the news release states. “The road at the bridge will be paved and sidewalks will be replaced.”