Bristol bridge will be one-way for most of the next 6 months

Traffic can pass southbound only, beginning March 2

Posted 2/18/20

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will temporarily close the northbound travel lane on Hope Street (Route 114) at the Silver Creek Bridge in Bristol on Monday, March 2 to begin …

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Bristol bridge will be one-way for most of the next 6 months

Traffic can pass southbound only, beginning March 2


Beginning in March, it should be a breeze getting into downtown Bristol — a little challenging getting out of downtown Bristol.

On March 2, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (DOT) will block the northbound lane of travel on the Silver Creek Bridge along Hope Street (Route 114), creating a constant flow of one-way traffic south, into the downtown district. To travel north, motorists will have two primary options — cut over to Metacom Avenue (Route 136), or try Sherry Avenue to Chestnut Street.

The one lane is expected to be closed for most of the next six months, aside from a two-week period around the Fourth of July, when the contractor will open both lanes to ease congestion around Bristol’s big day and allow normal flow for the July 4 parade.

The Silver Creek Bridge, originally built in 1922, spans only 16 feet, but is critical to the transportation system in the region. It provides the primary north-south passage across a creek that begins at the north end of Bristol, flows through the center of town and empties into Bristol Harbor in front of Guiteras Elementary School.

After monitoring the bridge’s health and long-term viability, DOT determined the only solution is to tear down and completely replace it. Last fall, DOT hired John Rocchio Corp. with a $3.8 million contract, and the contractor got to work relocating utility lines that pass across the creek. That work has continued almost continuously since October, with vehicular passage remaining open in both directions.

DOT’s initial bridge replacement plan, announced more than a year ago, was to completely tear down the bridge and block all travel along Route 114 for most of the summer of 2020. Loud opposition from a group of downtown Bristol business owners, private citizens and the East Bay Chamber of Commerce spurred DOT to re-think the project, and they worked with the contractor to develop an alternative method of construction, announced last fall.

The new plan adds about $300,000 to the project cost, which was accounted for in the contingency budget for the original $3.8 million plan.

The current plan is for the contractor to rebuild one half of the bridge before the Fourth of July, then rebuild the second half between July 6 and the end of August. Final construction activities are scheduled to be completed in the fall. The contractor has a financial incentive to finish the project ahead of schedule.

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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.