Petition: No-toll Stone Bridge for Portsmouth, Tiverton

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PORTSMOUTH — Want to get into Tiverton but don't want to pay the toll that's expected to come around July 4? Why not fix up the old Stone Bridge and turn it into a pedestrian walkway?

That's one idea being floated — tongue firmly in cheek, we suspect — in a petition on the website Change.org. The website calls itself the "world's largest petition platform," which empowers people to create change on items that interest them.

Recently a petitioner, identified only as "J. Simms," started a signature drive in the towns of Portsmouth and Tiverton "to restore the Stone Bridge to a 'walking bridge.'"

The petition states, "With the upcoming tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge, many businesses will suffer. What better way to 'level the playing field' than to give residents alternative access between Tiverton and Portsmouth. This will help to keep the support for local businesses going strong, as well as promoting fitness activities such as jogging and biking!"

Don't expect any big changes for the time being. As of Monday morning, the petition had collected only 10 signatures.

However, the appeal got people talking on the Facebook page, "If you grew up in Portsmouth, RI share some memories." One Tiverton resident joked that she could walk to a couple of taverns in Island Park if the old bridge is restored to its previous state.

The Stone Bridge was built in 1907 and carried drivers from Route 138 over the Sakonnet River. Hurricane Carol damaged it badly in 1954 and the bridge was replaced by the Sakonnet River Bridge in 1956.

To view the petition, visit www.change.org/users/54428363.

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