PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After debris fell from the Broadway overpass in Providence Tuesday afternoon, crews will be inspecting other bridges across the state to ensure they are safe.
R.I. Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti said the agency was alerted at 3 p.m. Tuesday that slabs of concrete had broken off from the overpass and fallen onto I-95 South.
No one was hurt and no cars were damaged, but the incident caused major traffic backups during the evening commute as crews worked to clear the debris and repair the overpass.
They were back at the scene Wednesday afternoon inspecting the bridge.
On Wednesday, Eyewitness News asked Alviti if the bridge was safe and structurally sound. He said it was.
“The concrete that came off was more of a cosmetic cover to the reinforcement rods that lie below it,” Alviti explained. “That kind of layer doesn’t provide any structural integrity.”
RIDOT workers installed plywood to catch any other debris that may fall, according to Alviti. He said in light of Tuesday’s issue, crews will be out inspecting bridges similar to the Broadway overpass over the next couple of days “to make sure there are no other kind of hidden flaws up there that we need to catch.”
Alviti said typically, bridges labeled “structurally deficient” are inspected once a year. Other bridges that are in need of some type of rehabilitation are inspected once every two years. The Broadway overpass was in the second category.
Alviti said the Broadway bridge was set to undergo reconstruction beginning in about two weeks. That project is still set to begin on time and will include four other bridges along I-95 in Providence.