The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced it will be performing steel repairs this summer to the Diamond Hill Road Bridge, which carries Diamond Hill Road over I-295 in Cumberland. This will strengthen the bridge's superstructure, avoiding any traffic or weight restrictions that might be needed if RIDOT did not perform this work.
The repairs, estimated to cost $230,000, were prompted by the results of a routine safety inspection completed in late February. The repair work will last until the bridge's rehabilitation, part of a $24.5 million, three-bridge project set to begin construction in summer 2022.
This summer's repair work will be performed from underneath the bridge, and shoulder closures on I-295 are possible. RIDOT will specify in its contract that no lane closures will be permitted on Diamond Hill Road itself, which is part of a $11.3 million safety improvement project designed to alleviate congestion and reduce a high incidence of crashes.
"[Due] to the Governor's RhodeWorks program, we have the funds to complete the long-awaited safety improvements for Diamond Hill Road as well as address the Diamond Hill Road Bridge itself," Peter Alviti Jr., RIDOT director, said. "We expect a year and a half to two years gap between the projects, and we'll be working hard through the design process to minimize traffic disruption when the bridge project begins. Unfortunately, we have to apply a $230,000 band-aid to this bridge now to keep it operational. It is another consequence of a legacy of poorly maintained bridges."
In addition to the Diamond Hill Road Bridge, two bridges that carry Douglas Pike over I-295 in Smithfield will be rehabilitated in 2022. All three bridges are structurally deficient and nearing the end of their service lives (Diamond Hill Road Bridge was built in 1963; Douglas Pike Bridges were built in 1971). They were identified as part of RIDOT's asset management approach for all roads and bridges and are being rehabilitated as part of the Department's mission to reduce the high number of structurally deficient bridges in Rhode Island and meet the federal standard of 90 percent bridge sufficiency by 2025.
The ongoing Diamond Hill Road safety project is on schedule for completion in fall 2020. It includes the installation of two roundabouts near both ends of the Diamond Hill Road Bridge, where it meets highway on and off ramps that are frequently congested, sometimes with traffic backing onto I-295. Also, under this project, RIDOT is making improvements at two nearby intersections — Chapel Four Corners and Industrial Drive. Combined, all the intersections under this project had more than 170 crashes in a five-year period from 2009-2013.
Repairs to the Diamond Hill Road Bridge, the Diamond Hill Road safety project, and the forthcoming rehabilitation of the Diamond Hill Road Bridge and the Douglas Pike Bridges were made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT's ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island's transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair, promote economic development, and create jobs.
For more information, visit ridot.net/RhodeWorks.