DOT eyes public park for Stone Bridge abutment in Portsmouth

Repairs should be finished this month

By Kristen Ray
Posted 6/5/19

PORTSMOUTH — As repair work continues on the Old Stone Bridge abutment in Portsmouth, the head of the state Department of Transportation (DOT) said he’d eventually like to see the …

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DOT eyes public park for Stone Bridge abutment in Portsmouth

Repairs should be finished this month

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — As repair work continues on the Old Stone Bridge abutment in Portsmouth, the head of the state Department of Transportation (DOT) said he’d eventually like to see the causeway turned into a public park.

A portion of the causeway eroded and fell off into the Sakonnet River back in March, putting the structure at risk for negative environmental and navigational impacts. 

Since then, DOT has identified additional portions of the abutment in need of immediate attention. The repairs are slated to be finished by the end of this month. 

“We’re going to bring it into a good state of repair and put a permanent fix in place,” DOT Director Peter Alviti told The Portsmouth Times on Thursday, May 30.

Once that has been accomplished, DOT plans to resume conversations with the town and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) about the possibility of transforming the surrounding beach area or pier itself for public use, he said.

“What we’re going to do is try to take the same approach as the Tiverton side,” Mr. Alviti said. 

With federal funding and private grants, the Tiverton abutment was transformed into a waterfront park. Mr. Alviti hopes that by allowing the town and DEM to “use their imagination,” something similar can happen on the Portsmouth side.

Several years ago members of the Portsmouth Town Council discussed the possibility of working with state officials to clean up the abutment and turn it into a public area, but said funding was a sticking point.

The Stone Bridge was originally built in 1907, connecting the two towns before the opening of the Sakonnet River Bridge in 1956. The abutment has since been closed to pedestrians out of concerns for safety.

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