Providence, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will start work on the McCormick Quarry Bridge in East Providence on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016. As with the recently replaced East Shore Expressway Bridge, this process involves an 80-hour rapid replacement. The McCormick Quarry Bridge carries northbound traffic on the East Shore Expressway from the East Bay to I-195 West.
RIDOT will close the bridge at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23 and expects to reopen the bridge by 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Sept. 27, in order to have it functional for the morning rush hour. Like the East Shore Expressway RIDOT replaced on Sept. 9-13, the 80-hour closure method saves a year of construction – a year which would have been filled with delays and construction with only one lane open on the bridge at a time.
The McCormick Quarry Bridge was visited by Vice President Joe Biden when he came to Rhode Island in May to see the state's RhodeWorks infrastructure program in action. At that time he called it the "Lincoln Logs" bridge, referring to the timber shoring installed to support the bridge's structural load due to its severe concrete deterioration. The "logs" will be removed as the bridge is demolished.
"When Vice President Biden visited Rhode Island, he was shocked at the condition of this bridge and the 'Lincoln Logs' necessary to hold it up," Governor Gina M. Raimondo said. "Thanks to RhodeWorks, we're not just replacing this deficient bridge, we're removing a symbol of past inefficiencies in fixing our roads and bridges and delivering better results for Rhode Islanders."
"We're pleased with the installation of the East Shore Expressway Bridge and the lessons learned through that 80-hour process will certainly aid us as we work on this second bridge," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. "This rapid bridge construction approach lets us complete the job of replacing these deficient and obsolete structures as quickly as possible with as little impact as possible to the traveling public."
The bridge replacement is part of a two-bridge project that will cost $16.7 million including a $663,000 budget contingency. The project is on budget and on schedule and will reach final completion in June 2017. The McCormick Quarry Bridge was built in 1959 and has been structurally deficient for more than 20 years. It carries 17,000 vehicles per day making the trip from Route 114 North to I-195 West.
In addition to closing the bridge, RIDOT also will close a section of Warren Avenue under the bridge, with local traffic only between the Pawtucket Avenue and Highland Avenue intersections. I-195 West's Exit 8 will remain open to Warren Avenue, however traffic will only be able to turn right and head westbound.
During the closure, RIDOT will demolish the McCormick Quarry Bridge and complete work on the foundations for the new bridge. Next will be the installation of the entire bridge's superstructure (steel beams and concrete deck), which was built in temporary staging areas on top of large supports adjacent to the old bridge.
Once the bridge foundational elements are ready, RIDOT will use large multi-wheel dollies to lift the new bridge off its supports, drive it down Warren Avenue, move it into position, and lower it on the new foundations. Finishing work to complete the riding surface between the bridge and the road segments on either side will come next, with the entire operation complete and all roads open to traffic no later than 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27. RIDOT has an incentive/disincentive clause in its contract; the contractor can earn $8,000 for every hour it opens the bridge ahead of schedule or face an equivalent penalty if late.
Those interested in checking on the progress of the bridge installation can view images (updated every 5 minutes) on RIDOT's website at www.dot.ri.gov/expressway. Follow RIDOTNews on Facebook or Twitter for updates on the project once it begins.