New northbound Sakonnet River Bridge opens


The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has opened the new Sakonnet River Bridge to Route 24 northbound traffic, eliminating the 18-ton weight

limit for northbound traffic. 

It is anticipated that in approximately one week, the new bridge also will carry southbound traffic.

“With the opening of the new Sakonnet River Bridge to northbound traffic, we will reduce the lengthy detour that the motoring public has used over the past four years,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “We thank the two host communities of Tiverton and Portsmouth for their continued patience and support during this project.”

The new bridge is 2,265 feet long and approximately 96 feet wide. There are two 12-foot lanes in each direction with wide shoulders. Mariners will find a wider passage under the bridge’s center span and the new bridge maintains the minimum vertical clearance over the river of 65 feet.

Once all traffic has been shifted to the new bridge, work will continue on approach roads on both sides of the span. Demolition of segments of the old bridge must take place before this work is finalized. RIDOT expects construction activities on the segments of Route 24 approaching the bridge to continue through Spring 2013.

All construction on the new bridge is expected to wrap up in 2013, including the opening of a bike path along the northern edge of the new bridge and the connecting paths to local streets on both sides of the bridge. Work on the bike path approach segments is expected to begin in Spring 2013.

Also in 2013, RIDOT expects to advertise for a construction project for the demolition of the old Sakonnet River Bridge.

Those with questions can contact RIDOT's Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional information will be available on RIDOT's social media sites Twitter and Facebook.


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Bridge toll suggestion: As Easy Pass will be used on the bridge, why not give Tiverton and Portsmouth residents an additional reduced rate. There is already a reduced rate for all Easy Pass RI residents on the Newport bridge. I'm sure making the billing change isn't that difficult. It's only about $21 for a transponder. If you don't have a transponder and are billed by mail, it should be easy to give the same additional reduced rate to Tiverton and Portsmouth registered vehicles. Put the toll lanes on the bridge or as close as possible and this would prevent people from bypassing the toll and causing traffic problems on roads not designed for heavy use. This would be a reasonable compromise if tolls are implemented.

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