Rhode Island consistently ranks among the states with the largest number of structurally deficient bridges. Two of those deficient bridges, connecting the East Shore communities with Interstate 195, were built in 1959 and have weight restrictions, adversely impacting area businesses and residents.
In an effort to restore bridges in the state, Rhode Island DOT developed RhodeWorks, an accelerated bridge construction program that will dramatically shorten the overall construction timeframe, allowing the state to complete bridges a year earlier than when using conventional construction methods. Through RhodeWorks, the state plans to fix more than 150 structurally deficient bridges and make repairs to another 500 bridges to prevent them from becoming deficient. RhodeWorks is partly funded by a new toll on large trucks.
The new East Shore bridges, the first of the state’s bridges to be replaced through the program, use precast foundation elements and innovative materials such as geosynthetic reinforced soil walls, crushed stone, and reinforcing fabric that allowed them to be quickly assembled alongside the old bridges, with minimal impact to bridge traffic. The new bridge decks were driven to the old bridge foundations using self-propelled modular transporters before being set into place.