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Construction on Rhode Island's Newport Pell Bridge Enters Phase 3

Thu August 13, 2020 - Northeast Edition
CEG


Phase 3 will focus on working on the eastbound passing lane, the center lane heading into Newport, as well as an accelerated replacement of an area not scheduled for work until after the Rhode Island Department of Transportation's (RIDOT) Newport Ramp Realignment Project is done. (RITBA rendering)
Phase 3 will focus on working on the eastbound passing lane, the center lane heading into Newport, as well as an accelerated replacement of an area not scheduled for work until after the Rhode Island Department of Transportation's (RIDOT) Newport Ramp Realignment Project is done. (RITBA rendering)

On Aug. 10, the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) announced that Phase 3 of construction on the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge was under way, an operation expected to last through November. The entire project is designed to rehabilitate the 51-year-old structure's roadway deck.

The general contractor for the bridge's upgrade is Aetna Bridge Co. in Warwick. RITBA said the contract is worth $19 million.

More commonly known as the Newport Bridge, the suspension bridge spans the east passage of Narragansett Bay and carries four lanes of RI 138 traffic between the city of Newport on Aquidneck Island and the town of Jamestown on Conanicut Island. The Newport Bridge is, in turn, connected to the mainland by the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge.

The Newport Bridge was first opened in June 1969 and at 1,601 ft. long, the main span of the structure makes it the longest suspension bridge in New England. The overall length is 11,247 ft. In addition, its main towers reach 400 ft. above the surface of Narragansett Bay.

The Newport Pell Bridge Deck Rehabilitation Project consists of work performed on the structure within spans 2E to 22E, beginning where the bridge cable meets the road deck and moving 4,500 ft. towards Newport.

According to the RITBA, the improvement work includes:

  • Partial depth hydro-demolition and replacement of the concrete on single lanes of the roadway deck,
  • Full depth demolition and replacement of reinforced concrete joint headers and installation of new joint seals at some piers,
  • Milling and paving on the road deck and,
  • Other miscellaneous repairs/work items.

The beginning of the newest work to upgrade the Newport Bridge comes on the heels of the finish of Phase 2 in late July, which the RITBA said was completed a month early.

Phase 3 will focus on working on the eastbound passing lane, the center lane heading into Newport, as well as an accelerated replacement of an area not scheduled for work until after the Rhode Island Department of Transportation's (RIDOT) Newport Ramp Realignment Project is done.

Crews working on the first two phases performed much of the same type of upgrades as those being done on Phase 3, such as hydro demolition on the eastbound travel lanes and expansion joint header repair on the road deck during Phase 1 in the spring, followed by the same improvements on the westbound passing lane in Phase 2.

During the newest construction, two lanes will be open coming from Newport during the afternoon rush hour. Traffic levels will be monitored and two lanes heading into Newport during the morning rush hour will be open if needed. During non-peak hours, there may be one lane open in each direction, the RITBA said, allowing workers access to two lanes.




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