The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has lowered the posting of Cove Bridge No. 495, also known as the Escape Bridge, in Portsmouth to 4 tons (3.6 t). Vehicles over 4 tons will no longer be able to cross the bridge and will have to take alternate routes. Work to change the posting signs began May 4.
“The Cove Bridge is safe for travel by vehicles under the bridge’s new posted weight limit,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis.
Vehicles in excess of 4 tons seeking access to the Island Park business district should use Exit 2 off Route 24 to Boyds Lane. Drivers unsure of the weight of their vehicles should consult their registration, which lists the vehicle’s gross weight. All trucks and buses will need to seek alternate routes. Passenger vehicles such as cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks are still permitted to cross the bridge.
RIDOT lowered the posting on this bridge to 10 tons (9 t) last May. Deterioration has continued and now the bridge will need to have its superstructure (horizontal elements) replaced and its substructure (vertical elements) repaired.
“RIDOT will begin an accelerated in-house design for the Cove Bridge,” said Lewis. “It is expected that this project will be advertised later this year and begin construction next year. It is expected that this project will take only one construction season to complete.”
Once construction begins the bridge will need to be closed to all traffic. RIDOT will work closely with the community and the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, should flooding conditions impact the neighborhood.
Built in 1961, Cove Bridge carries Hummocks Point Road over a tidal inlet in the Island Park section of Portsmouth. Serving primarily local traffic, the bridge has an average daily traffic count of 2,100 vehicles per day.
RIDOT inspects all of its bridges once every two years. This bridge was scheduled for annual inspections, but RIDOT will now inspect it every six months because of its rapid deterioration.
For more information, call 401/222-2450.
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