Pine Street bridge won’t be replaced for another three years

Pine Street bridge won’t be replaced for another three years

Wooden blocks help support the Pine Street bridge over I-95 in Pawtucket. The bridge won’t be replaced for another three years. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

PAWTUCKET – Driving along I-95 under the Pine Street bridge, it’s easy to see why the span is one of Rhode Island’s most decrepit pieces of infrastructure. Cement is crumbling away, exposing plenty of rebar, and wooden blocks have been jammed in to help hold the bridge up.

“It’s amazing that it hasn’t fallen down yet,” one city resident recently told The Breeze.

But according to the state’s master list of bridges, there are 100 bridges in worse shape than the span carrying Pine Street over the highway.

The Pine Street bridge’s sufficiency rating of 48.7, released last year, puts it just under the cutoff of 50 or below requiring that it be replaced. Despite its condition, there are dozens of other bridges set to be replaced first.

Department of Transportation spokesman Charles St. Martin this week said that the 10-year RhodeWorks infrastructure plan from the state provides funding to begin the design of a new Pine Street bridge in 2019. Construction will begin the next year, on a project expected to cost $11.6 million.

The Pine Street bridge is huddled between a number of other Pawtucket bridges that have been redone over the past few years. Seven shorter bridges, including the Garden Street bridge and George Street bridge, were redone as part of the $81 million contract for the Pawtucket River Bridge.