DOT detour: Wooden boardwalks opened on bridges

State issuing request for proposals for replacement of bike path bridges

By Josh Bickford
Posted 12/20/21

Bicyclists wasted very little time breaking in the new wooden boardwalks built on the Barrington and Warren river bridges recently. 

Shortly after the boardwalks were opened, bicyclists were …

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DOT detour: Wooden boardwalks opened on bridges

State issuing request for proposals for replacement of bike path bridges

Posted

Bicyclists wasted very little time breaking in the new wooden boardwalks built on the Barrington and Warren river bridges recently. 

Shortly after the boardwalks were opened, bicyclists were spotted cruising over them. The wooden boardwalks are part of improved detours for the closed East Bay Bike Path bridges.

Charles St. Martin, a spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, said the state is also very close to putting out an RFP (request for proposals) for the replacement of the bike path bridges.

“RIDOT is putting the RFP out as a design-build by the end of December which will allow companies the most amount of creativity possible in proposed solutions for replacing both bridges given the $10 million budgeted for it,” Mr. St. Martin said. “We are cautiously optimistic we will be able to get both of them built, that is our goal, but we do have a constrained budget of $10 million. It is important to note that the design-build approach offers the flexibility to add additional funds should they become available to us.”

It was recently reported that funding for the East Bay Bike Path bridges has made its way into the 2022 Appropriations bill that was unveiled by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, advocated for $154 million in federal funding for projects across Rhode Island, including $5 million for the bike path bridges. (The Appropriations bill is separate from the federal infrastructure package.)

Mr. St. Martin offered a comment regarding the federal funding.

“RIDOT is aware of a pending earmark for this bill but at present we understand it hasn’t been finalized,” he said. 

The bike path bridges have been closed since the fall of 2019, when Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials deemed them unsafe for joggers, walkers, bicyclists and anyone else who wanted to cross them. (The sidewalks on the bridges had been blocked off at an earlier date.)

A detour created by the DOT drew a concerned response from residents, town officials and state legislators, so transportation officials created a series of detour safety improvements. 

2022 by East Bay Media Group

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.