PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Transportation said last week that it has begun assembling the deck for the first span of the new Pawtucket River Bridge project.
According to a news release, the deck will be built with pre-cast components, which will allow the department’s contactor to complete the bridge more quickly than traditional concrete-pouring methods.
With the accelerated pace of construction, the department expects the bridge to open to traffic by late spring 2012. This section of the bridge will temporarily carry traffic for Interstate 95 North, and will allow DOT to lift the 18-ton weight limit for northbound truck traffic. All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change.
By the end of 2012, DOT anticipates shifting all traffic to the new structures and eliminating the current 18-ton weight restriction for northbound and southbound traffic on I-95. The entire project is scheduled to conclude in mid-2013.
DOT said in the release that building the bridge in phases will allow the Pawtucket River Bridge to be constructed with minimal impact to highway traffic and no reduction in travel lanes throughout the life of the project. •