Portsmouth's Escape Bridge opens

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PORTSMOUTH — For the first time since November 2011, cars passed over Portsmouth's Escape Bridge Tuesday morning.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT)  announced Monday afternoon that it planned to reopen the Cove (Escape) Bridge at approximately 9 a.m. The bridge, which carries Hummocks Point Road over a tidal inlet in the Island Park area of Portsmouth, was closed for rehabilitation in November 2011.

Through a $2 million contract with Cardi Corporation, RIDOT replaced the superstructure of the 51-year-old bridge which serves as the primary for the Island Park area. Built in 1961, the bridge serves mostly local traffic and has an average daily traffic count of 2,100 vehicles per day.

The recently completed work allows RIDOT to lift all weight restrictions on the bridge. The structure’s weight limit was lowered to four tons in 2009 because of its deteriorating condition.

The DOT has also predicted a mid-September opening date for the Sakonnet River Bridge's northbound lanes. On Monday, a spokesman said that work is proceeding, despite the fact that some have wondered why, on some recent good-weather days, little seemed to be going on there.

Still to be done, he said, is the bridge's top coat of asphalt and lane striping.

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