Providence, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is set to replace the Barton Corner Bridge, which carries I-95 over Route 2 on the Warwick/West Warwick town line, beginning later this month. The operation uses accelerated bridge construction techniques to complete the work in an 11-day period. The new bridges (north and southbound) are scheduled to be in place by Labor Day.
"Strengthening our transportation infrastructure has been a cornerstone of my administration, and I am proud to see Rhode Island taking such an innovative step forward with this project," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "Investing in our infrastructure is critical to continuing our economic recovery as a state as well as improving quality of life for Rhode Islanders."
Through a $6.4 million contract with D'Ambra Construction, the new Barton Corner Bridge is currently being built in two halves on land adjacent to the highway on Route 2. Once construction is complete, self-propelled modular transporters will be used to move the 440-ton bridges into their final placement on I-95. In 2006, these transporters were used to move the Iway Bridge onto barges at the Quonset Business Park before it was floated up Narragansett Bay to Providence.
"We are proud to be working with D'Ambra to achieve this first for Rhode Island," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "As part of our interstate system, Barton Corner Bridge is an important asset. The approach taken with its replacement allows us to build a quality bridge that will last for generations to come while significantly minimizing disruption to traffic and to the surrounding community during construction."
Accelerating the construction process allows the bridge to be replaced in one season versus two if conventional construction methods were used; this not only has a cost benefit but also a safety and environmental benefit. Traditional construction methods would have necessitated near daily lane closures on the interstate and Route 2 throughout the project. While some traffic congestion and delays are expected during replacement of the Barton Corner Bridge, precautions are being taken to keep traffic and business impacts to a minimum. Travel along I-95 will be maintained at all times — as will access to all Route 2 businesses.
The Barton Corner Bridge carries I-95 over Route 2 — one of Rhode Island's busiest commercial corridors — in addition to providing access to Route 4. On average, 72,000 vehicles cross it daily. The bridge was originally built in 1958 and underwent some rehabilitation in 1976. To avoid reducing its carrying capacity, a steel shoring system was added in 2010 to support the bridge. The bridge is showing signs of advanced deterioration, necessitating its complete replacement. In addition, Route 2 in this area serves as a main trucking route for Quonset; in recent years, the Barton Corner Bridge has been struck by several oversized vehicles, resulting in significant damage to its steel beams. The new bridge will provide for eight additional inches of clearance for these larger vehicles.