Key Rhode Island bridge will need to be demolished, replaced

March 18, 2024

The westbound Washington Bridge, a key transportation route into and out of Providence, Rhode Island, will need to be demolished and replaced because of significant structural deficiencies, Gov. Dan McKee said.

The bridge was partially shut down in December after the Rhode Island Department of Transportation discovered a critical failure in its original components.

The demolition and design-rebuild will be put out to bid, McKee’s office said in a press release. Demolishing and replacing the bridge is estimated to cost up to $350 million, and a new bridge could be completed within 18 to 24 months of a contract award.

The bridge, originally built in 1968, carries almost 100,000 vehicles a day. It was undergoing a $78 million renovation that included adding new ramps and structural repairs when it was shut down. Since then, state bridge officials and engineering consultants have been analyzing the structure.

That analysis found “additional, significant structural deficiencies that cannot viably be repaired, according to a press release. The bridge’s superstructure and part of all of the substructure must be replaced, the release said.

An independent examination into the failure is currently in progress, the release said. The outcome of this analysis will be available in the following weeks.

Photo courtesy of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation

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