NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — A historic Rhode Island bridge reopened Thursday after being closed for more than a year.
The 150-foot-long Slatersville Stone Arch Bridge has been closed since last winter for reconstruction. The bridge, which carries Railroad Street over the Branch River, is the oldest mason-work bridge in the state.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for at the rebuilt bridge on Thursday, which reopened to traffic just before Christmas.
“This is one of the most historic bridges in our state, which unfortunately had been left to decay and adversely impact the Town of North Smithfield for years,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said.
According to RIDOT, the bridge was closed two separate times to complete construction for the estimated $13.3 million project.
North Smithfield Town Administrator Gary Ezovski said they are thrilled to reopen the historic bridge to traffic.
“Beyond the detours, we have endured some inconvenience, but we didn’t lift the heavy precast concrete sections. We didn’t have to position and rive the piles or lug the jackhammer to cut through asphalt or concrete. Nor did we have to get into the freezing Branch River water just a couple of weeks ago to pull the sand bags that were diverting river water away from scaffolding,” he said. “We thank everyone who worked on this project.”
The rehabilitation of the bridge is on budget and is ahead of schedule, however RIDOT said crews still need to complete some landscaping and sidewalk repair before it is completely finished. The bridge is currently closed to pedestrian traffic.