CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — After months of construction delays, the Park Avenue Railroad Bridge is once again welcoming vehicle traffic.
Gov. Dan McKee, Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins, Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos and state Sen. Josh Miller held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday to celebrate the bridge’s reopening.
The bridge, which carries more than 15,000 vehicles per day over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Elmwood and Wellington avenues, was closed down in mid-May 2021 so it could be demolished and completely rebuilt.
The $11.7 million project was scheduled for completion the following fall, but RIDOT said it got held up because Amtrak was unable to provide as frequently the trained safety personnel needed to work on the bridge.
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The original bridge had a wooden deck and dated back to 1906, according to RIDOT.
In 2015, it was closed for a month to undergo emergency repairs after it was found to be a safety risk. Prior to its closure, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti penned a letter to then-Gov. Gina Raimondo saying “it is my professional opinion that this bridge is in imminent danger of collapse.”
Maintenance records reviewed by Target 12 showed the state failed to address the bridge’s structural deficiencies for a quarter-century and forced taxpayers to spend more than $500,000 on those repairs.