PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After nearly three years in the making, a grand opening ceremony Friday morning marked the opening of the new Providence River Pedestrian Bridge.
The new pedestrian bridge is built on the former I-195 land that spans 450 feet over the Providence River. It is finished with a modern and sleek design that connects the east and west sides of the Providence river between Fox Point to the east and the Jewelry District to the west.
When first conceived in the mid-1990s, it was originally slated to be a simple bridge with a cost of $2 million. Fast forward more than two decades, and the final cost was $22 million.
Several restaurants, apartments, and stores have been built near the bridge since the project began in 2016. Last month, the Wexford Innovation Center officially opened its doors downtown close to the pedestrian bridge. Community developers believe the bridge is well worth the investment and could help attract more visitors, residents and potential businesses in the future.
“While today marks the end of its planning and construction chapters it also marks the beginning of its new chapters,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti. “As it functions to provide a connection between the east side and the west side of the river and a public space that doesn’t just bridge the two sides of a river but a beautiful space that will provide a magnificent view of our beautiful city for countless years to countless people.”
The new pedestrian bridge was built on the pillars of the former I-195 highway. The former stretch of highway was demolished after the Iway Bridge carrying I-195 was completed – opening up more than two dozen acres of land for redevelopment.
Several city and state leaders are scheduled attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony including Gov. Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.
Eyewitness News reporter Brandon Truitt contributed to this report.