EAST PROVIDENCE — On schedule, one half of the the new Henderson Bridge connecting East Providence with the East Side of Providence over the Seekonk River is set to open by Friday morning, Nov. …
EAST PROVIDENCE — On schedule, one half of the the new Henderson Bridge connecting East Providence with the East Side of Providence over the Seekonk River is set to open by Friday morning, Nov. 17, with the other doing the same a few days later, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.
Traffic will flow for the first time on the reconstructed westbound span into the Capital City overnight November 16 into November 17, then in time for the Monday morning rush, Nov. 20, the eastbound section leading to East Providence will be available to motorists.
The early part of this week was used to finish guardrail installation while continuing electrical work for new highway lighting and new directional and regulatory signage installations.
In addition, the second half of the Massasoit Avenue roundabout and add waterproofing to the shared-use path portion of the bridge.
On Wednesday and Thursday nights, Nov. 15 and 16, from 10 p.m.-5 a.m., RIDOT closed Massasoit Avenue northbound at Wilmarth Avenue, and southbound at Broadway, to establish a new traffic pattern prior to opening the new bridge.
Following the November 16 afternoon rush, RIDOT will begin shifting traffic onto the new bridge and all vehicles will pass through the new roundabout on Massasoit Avenue.
By the end of November, RIDOT also expects to open the new shared-use bike path, completely separated from vehicular traffic, alongside the eastbound side of the bridge. It will connect Massasoit Avenue directly to River Drive in Providence. Until it opens, cyclists can continue to use the old bridge.
The state authority is also urging motorists who will frequent the bridge to bone up the new roundabout system in place at points of ingress and egress on Massasoit Avenue. RIDOT claims roundabouts have proven to reduce fatalities by 90 percent, and greatly reduce injuries and the severity of crashes. With their lower speeds, these intersections are safer for pedestrians, cyclists, older drivers and novice drivers.
Get more information, including diagrams and information on how to use a roundabout at www.ridot.net/roundabouts.
A complete timeline of the upcoming changes associated with the opening of the new Henderson Bridge is as follows:
The original, 2,000-foot Henderson Bridge was completed in 1969. It was deemed structurally deficient in 1996 and had been in a steady state of even greater decline over the next 20 years before it was included in RIDOT's "RhodeWorks" renovation/reconstruction program begun nearly a decade ago.
Work on the new, narrower span, part of an overall $84.4 million project started in 2020, is expected to continue through 2024, largely involving demolition of the old bridge and portions of the Henderson Expressway. Final completion of the project is expected in summer 2025.