Barrington bridge repair will cost more than $2 million

Barrington River Bridge work expected to wrap up in late February

By Josh Bickford
Posted 1/22/20

The price for the Barrington River Bridge continues to climb. 

Ten years ago, the construction of the bridge cost more than double the original price, ballooning from a $10.3 million bid to a …

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Barrington bridge repair will cost more than $2 million

Barrington River Bridge work expected to wrap up in late February

Posted

The price for the Barrington River Bridge continues to climb. 

Ten years ago, the construction of the bridge cost more than double the original price, ballooning from a $10.3 million bid to a final price of more than $22 million. 

More recently, officials determined that repair work was needed on the local bridge that carries Route 114 traffic over the Barrington River — an early estimate of $100,000 for the repair recently jumped to more than $2 million. 

Charles St. Martin, a spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, said the earlier estimate was only for an interim repair.

"We determined additional work was needed and chose to proceed with a permanent repair," Mr. St. Martin said. 

The DOT spokesman said the state advertised the contract and received a bid of $2.19 million from John Rocchio Corporation. Mr. St. Martin said the contractor has already started work on the bridge; he said the contractor may close one lane of traffic on the bridge on weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"…they expect to wrap up in late February," Mr. St. Martin said. 

In Sept. 2019, the Barrington Times reported that the DOT had downgraded the Barrington River Bridge's condition to "poor." An inspection revealed advanced scouring adjacent to the bridge's substructure. At the time, Mr. St. Martin explained that sections of the riverbed near the bridge had eroded, leaving portions of the bridge piers that were initially below ground now exposed to the water.

According to the DOT, the bridge has six piers and each pier has 26 steel piles — the piles run down into the river bed. In September, Mr. St. Martin said sections of soil at two of the piers had eroded, adding that the bridge was still safe to carry vehicle traffic. 

When asked if this type of problem is normal for a bridge that is 10 years old, Mr. St. Martin said: "Every bridge is different. Every water body is different."

Bridge history

The Barrington River Bridge was completed in 2009, after lengthy delays and millions of dollars in cost overruns. 

The hired contractor, Shire Corporation, won the rights to build the bridge, bidding $10.3 million, but by the time the structure was finished, the cost was more than double the original bid.

The recent inspection, which was completed in April 2019, listed the overall bridge rating as a 4, which is considered poor. The condition of the deck, however, is listed as "very good," while the rating for the superstructure was downgraded from an 8 to a 7. But it is the substructure, which was downgraded to a 4 rating, that led DOT officials to expedite the repairs.

Mr. St. Martin said DOT will conduct the work and pay for it. He said Shire Corporation was not responsible to complete the repair work.

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