The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has selected a contractor to complete the White Church Bridge replacement project.
State officials recently awarded the contract to Cardi Corporation; the total contract amount is $15.4 million, said DOT Spokeswoman Rose Amoros.
“Prep work, such as surveying, is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks,” Ms. Amoros wrote in a recent e-mail. “In early November, motorists can expect to see crews out in the field, installing wood beams beneath the bridge in preparation of demolition and setting up traffic signs and barriers.”
Once construction begins, travel along the bridge will be impacted.
It was earlier reported that during portions of the project, traffic will be restricted to a single lane. During the morning commute, however, two-way flow will be permitted. And once construction has concluded at the end of each work day, vehicles will be allowed to cross in both directions at the same time. Officials have said that one-way traffic may occur sporadically throughout construction on an as-needed basis.
Complete bridge closures will also occur during the overnight hours, although Barrington safety officials have been assured that emergency vehicles will be able to cross the bridge whenever it is necessary.
Barrington residents and officials have paid close attention to the planning of the White Church Bridge project, likely in response to delays and cost overruns that occurred on the Barrington River Bridge replacement project a few years back. The state and its contractor — Shire Corp. — needed 11 years to finish that work, which cost more than twice the initial bid of $10.3 million.
The White Church Bridge, or Central Bridge, as it is officially titled, is more than 70 years old and is showing its age. Large potholes scar both lanes of traffic on the bridge, and in certain sections concrete has worn away to expose metal rebar.
A few years back, state officials imposed a 15-ton weight limit on the bridge. That measure forces the fire department to re-route its largest truck from crossing the span.
According to state officials, the first phase of construction includes two new traffic lanes on a new section of bridge. Demolition of the old bridge will follow, and landscaping and clean-up work would be wrapped by May 2017.
“In April 2017, stormwater mitigation work will begin. At the end of Virginia (Road), a drainage ditch will be installed. Also, on Riverview Drive, asphalt at the end of the road will be cut and salt resistant grass will be planted,” wrote Ms. Amoros.
Officials have also accommodated for diamondback terrapin migration along the Barrington River (and under the White Church Bridge), scheduling in-water work stoppages from Feb. 1 to May 15.
The project will relocate the bridge slightly to the north. The new bridge will also be a bit wider — allowing five-foot wide sidewalks — and two feet higher than the existing span.