White Church Bridge construction clears permitting hurdles

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The first phase of construction on the White Church Bridge could be underway by the end of this year, according to Rhode Island Department of Transportation Bridge Engineer David Fish.

Mr. Fish delivered the town council with an update on the issue Monday night, including a 3-D modeling video highlighting each phase of construction. He said the project recently cleared permitting hurdles with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Army Corps of Engineers. A 30-day public notice period with the Coastal Resources Management Council could begin in two weeks, Mr. Fish said, and the project could be advertised by mid-April.

Mr. Fish said the first phase of the construction — two new traffic lanes on a new section of bridge — could be complete by early 2015 followed by demolition wrapping up later that year. Landscaping and clean-up work is scheduled to be done by June 2016.

Mr. Fish said this timeline accounts for stoppages of work from Feb. 1 to May 15, when in-water construction is prohibited in order to protect diamondback terrapin turtles living in the area. He said work will move out of the water during these periods to avoid a lag in construction.

Mr. Fish also re-assured the council this project won’t be a repeat of the Barrington River Bridge project, which took 11 years to complete.

“We’re more than cognizant of the issues with the other bridge,” Mr. Fish said. “We’re looking at this a number of ways to ensure that doesn’t happen to the Town of Barrington.”

The project will move the bridge slightly to the north. It will also add width and a second approach lane at the County Road intersection along with five foot wide sidewalks, shoulders and increase elevation.

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