Author of book on Newport Bridge to host its 50th birthday tribute

Posted 6/7/19

A 50th birthday tribute to the Newport Bridge will be celebrated by the Bosworth Lecture Series on Thursday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at the Rogers Free Library. The event is free and open to the public. …

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Author of book on Newport Bridge to host its 50th birthday tribute

Posted

A 50th birthday tribute to the Newport Bridge will be celebrated by the Bosworth Lecture Series on Thursday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at the Rogers Free Library. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

Author of The Newport Bridge, James Ricci, will host the festivities with a PowerPoint presentation of the bridge history, including the political squabbles that preceded its opening on June 28, 1969, an event that changed the face of R.I.

For three centuries prior, travelers used ferries to cross Narragansett Bay's East Passage and reach Newport, long a premier summer destination. It took over 25 years following WWII to put aside bickering and delays and build the 2.13 mile-long suspension bridge, the longest in the region.

Its 1,600-foot horizontal span was built with 47 million pounds of steel and 250,000 cubic yards of concrete at a cost of $61 million. Some 15,000 vehicles crossed the bridge on opening day, and now more than 10 million cars cross each year. It is often said to offer the favorite view of the state to passing motorists.

The Newport Bridge was published last year, and its 272 pages detail the new technologies and construction techniques used in the bridge, named for Newport resident Senator Claiborne Pell, a decision which reportedly "frosted" Senator John Chaffee who, as governor, worked long and hard for its construction.

James M. Ricci is an R.I. native who grew up in Barrington. He holds a doctorate from Salve Regina University where he cultivated his interest in the bridge. He has spent 35 years in financial services and published articles on architecture and the Florida Land Boom of the 1920s. He serves on the board of directors for the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River. He and his wife, Cheryl, live in Bristol.

The Roswell S. Bosworth Jr. Lecture Series is presented by the Men's Club, a local organization that pays tribute to its founding member, former editor and publisher of the East Bay Newspapers, with lectures of interest to the public.

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