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PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Transportation said last week that it has reopened the Frenchtown Brook Bridge in East Greenwich about one month earlier than originally planned.
According to a news release, the scheduled closure period was for no more than 65 days. However, the accelerated-bridge-construction techniques used for the replacement project allowed the department to demolish the old bridge, assemble the new structure using precast concrete components, and reopen the road to traffic in 33 days.
DOT had included an incentive clause in its contract with Aetna Bridge Co. The clause provides a $3,000 per day incentive, up to 30 days, to the contractor for opening the bridge early. The company received nearly $100,000 under the clause.
DOT said in the release it will evaluate all future bridge projects to determine if they can be built using accelerated-bridge-construction techniques. Not all bridges can be rehabilitated or replaced using these methods, however. A number of factors need to be weighed, including the impact to traffic, the complexity of utility relocations and the amount of work needed to be accomplished in the project.
The 57-year-old Frenchtown Brook Bridge was replaced through a $1.9 million contract with Aetna. The project is one of the Federal Highway Administration’s Highways for LIFE demonstration projects geared to advance longer-lasting highway infrastructure. The project received $620,000 in federal funding. •