Workers demolished the old Pontiac bridge Friday night as the Rhode Island Department of Transportation prepared for Saturday’s bridge slide. According to Charles St. Martin, Chief Public …
Workers demolished the old Pontiac bridge Friday night as the Rhode Island Department of Transportation prepared for Saturday’s bridge slide. According to Charles St. Martin, Chief Public Affairs Officer at RIDOT, the average bridge slide takes three to four hours.
In a Nov. 16 press release, RIDOT reminded motorists of the second weekend bridge closure starting Nov. 18 with the bridge reopening by 6 a.m. on Nov. 21. The first bridge slide had occurred the prior weekend starting Nov. 11 where workers finished an hour ahead of schedule on Monday.
St. Martin shared that traffic mitigation went well on the first road closure. Two weeks ago, RIDOT closed the Route 95 south ramp because it emptied directly before Pontiac Avenue and could create more traffic. St. Martin said RIDOT had two detours for motorists and police officers available on Pontiac Avenue, Sockanosset Cross Road up to Route 2 to help disburse traffic.
After closing the bridge Friday night, much of the heavy equipment in place with a subcontractor demolishing the bridge and carting away concrete and steel debris. Saturday morning, Cardi Construction (the general contractor) moved the bridge using a multi-wheeled, self-propelled modular transporter which moved the new bridge into its location. On Sunday, work included connecting the bridge to the rest of the road. And by Monday morning – as early as 2 a.m. – traffic was rolling along.
According to a RIDOT press release, “the bridge slides are a form of accelerated bridge construction that saves an additional 24 months compared to conventional construction methods. This rapid approach minimizes the overall disruption to traffic and the surrounding commercial districts, limiting noise and vehicle emissions associated with much longer duration construction projects.”
St. Martin said that while the bridge was closed the entire weekend, the alternative was having this project take years and shifting traffic lanes while building the bridge in portions. St. Martin added that bridge slides can’t be done with every project, but having the land near the ramps gave RIDOT the space to build the bridges and then slide them into place.
The bridge slide required a closure of Pontiac Avenue at the Route 37 overpass with parts of Route 37 East affected. Travelers had access to the Pontiac Avenue ramps to move easily on Route 37. RIDOT added that Route 37 is a critical east-west freeway in central Rhode Island, linking the cities of Cranston and Warwick, major retail, office and residential areas, Interstate highways and Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport. The bridge completion is part of an ongoing project that will be completed in 2023. There is still construction up and down Route 37 with lane shifts. With a daily traffic count of 42,000 vehicles, Route 37 is one of the state’s busiest corridors.
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