DOT: Barrington River Bridge in 'poor' condition

Underwater inspection reveals problems with substructure

Posted 9/11/19

Despite being just 10 years old, the Barrington River Bridge's condition was recently downgraded to "poor."

According to a recent inspection, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation …

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DOT: Barrington River Bridge in 'poor' condition

Underwater inspection reveals problems with substructure

Posted

Despite being just 10 years old, the Barrington River Bridge's condition was recently downgraded to "poor."

According to a recent inspection, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation categorized the overall bridge condition as "poor" and noted specific problems with the bridge's substructure. 

The report stated that there was "advanced scour adjacent to the substructure," and that "isolated areas of minor undermining may exist."

RIDOT Spokesman Charles St. Martin offered a more detailed explanation to the issue. 

He said that certain sections of the riverbed have eroded, leaving portions of the bridge piers that were initially below ground now exposed to the water. 

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

"A repair will happen this fall," Mr. St. Martin said. 

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."

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, 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 upcoming repairs.

Mr. St. Martin said engineers are still working on the designs for the repair project. He said officials want to have the work completed by winter, and estimate that it will cost about $100,000, but cautioned that the DOT does not yet have a firm cost for 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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