In a first-of-its-kind project for the state, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will soon replace the Barton Corner Bridge carrying I-95 over Route 2 on the Warwick-West Warwick line using an accelerated process.
The 11-day project is scheduled to begin Monday, Aug. 18, with new northbound and southbound bridges set to be in place by Labor Day. State officials say travel along I-95 will be maintained throughout the work, as will access to all businesses along Route 2.
Currently, the new bridge is being built in two halves on nearby land. D’Ambra Construction is building the new bridge through a $6.4 million contract. Once the work is complete, the new, 440-ton structures will be moved into place using self-propelled modular transporters – the same used in 2006 to move the Iway Bridge onto barges at Quonset Business Park before it was taken up Narragansett Bay to Providence.
According to RIDOT, the accelerated replacement limits the process to one construction season rather than the two that would be needed based on conventional methods. It will also eliminate the need for almost daily lane closures on both Route 2 and I-95.
The Barton Corner Bridge was originally built in 1958, and underwent rehabilitation in 1976 and the addition of a steel shoring system in 2010. An average of 72,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily.
State officials say the replacement project is needed because the current bridge has shown signs of significant deterioration. Several oversize vehicles have struck the bridge in recent years, and the new structures will provide for an additional eight inches of clearance.
RIDOT has provided the following information regarding the timeline and likely traffic impacts of the 11-day project:
On Aug. 18, the on-ramp from Route 2 north to I-95 south will be closed for the duration of the work. Access to I-95 south will be made available using the current Route 2 south on-ramp, and a temporary traffic signal will be installed to guide motorists.
There will also be a partial closure of exit 8 from I-95 to Route 2 north, while the on-ramp from Route 2 south to I-95 south and the off-ramp from I-95 north to Route 2 south (exit 8A) will remain open throughout the project.
On Tuesday, Aug. 19, Route 2 will be closed from Division Street to just south of the James P. Murphy Industrial Highway from 10 p.m. through the Wednesday morning commute to allow for bridge demolition.
On Friday, Aug. 22, the same stretch of Route 2 will be closed from noon through the afternoon commute for the northbound bridge replacement. Northbound traffic will be shifted onto the new bridge on Saturday, Aug. 23.
On Sunday, Aug. 24, the same stretch of Route 2 will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for additional bridge demolition. The road will re-open with one lane of travel in each direction.
On Tuesday, Aug. 26, the same stretch of Route 2 will be closed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the southbound bridge replacement. On Thursday, Aug. 28, southbound traffic will be shifted onto the new bridge.
State officials caution that construction is dependent upon weather, and any required adjustments to the schedule will be posted online at www.dot.ri.gov/BartonCorner. Detour maps can also be found online, and updates can be found via RIDOT’s Facebook page and Twitter feed (both under the name “RIDOTNews”).
RIDOT is also discouraging members of the public from watching the moving of the new bridges at the scene given the slow-moving nature of the process and concerns over safety. Those interested are instead urged to view the live camera feeds available on the department’s website.
“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,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said in a statement announcing the project. “Investing in our infrastructure is critical to continuing our economic recovery as a state as well as improving quality of life for Rhode Islanders.”
“We are proud to be working with D’Ambra to achieve this first for Rhode Island,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said in the same statement. “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.”