The northbound side of the new Sakonnet River Bridge will open Thursday, Sept. 20.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation says this move will eliminate the need for the 18-ton weight limit on the northbound side of Rt. 24.
A detour for heavier vehicles has been in place for the past four years.
The new bridge that connects Tiverton and Portsmouth is 2,265 feet long and approximately 96 feet wide.
There are two 12-foot lanes in each direction with wide shoulders.
Mariners will find a wider passage under the bridge's center span and the new bridge maintains the minimum vertical clearance over the river of 65 feet.
RIDOT says that the southbound side should open sometime late next week.
Once all traffic has been moved to the new bridge, work will continue on approach roads on both sides of the span. Demolition of segments of the old bridge must take place before this work is finalized.
RIDOT expects this construction to continue through Spring 2013.
All construction on the new bridge is expected to wrap up in 2013, including the opening of a bike path along the northern edge of the new bridge and the connecting paths to local streets on both sides of the bridge.
Work on the bike path approach segments is expected to begin in Spring 2013.
RIDOT expects to advertise for a construction project for the demolition of the old Sakonnet River Bridge in 2013.
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