Leaders balk as DOT denies immediate fix for Greystone bridge

Leaders balk as DOT denies immediate fix for Greystone bridge

The Greystone bridge over the Woonasquatucket River at the Johnston line is crumbling due to sliding of the asphalt on the wet wood of the bridge. The sliding is happening because no one put a membrane between the wood and asphalt. Town officials have put the project on their list of priorities to the state. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – A bridge that serves as a key connecting point between North Providence and Johnston is badly in need of being redone, but officials from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation are saying they won’t fix it for another decade.

Town Councilor Stephen Feola had asked that the town be allowed to fix the Greystone bridge and be reimbursed by the state, at an estimated cost of $51,000, but the DOT denied that request.

At Feola’s urging, the council sent a letter to an array of state officials last week asking that the bridge over the Woonasquatucket River on the North Providence/Johnston line be repaired as soon as possible.

A representative for the Rhode Island DOT couldn’t immediately be reached this week.

Asphalt on the bridge continues to shift because the bridge was built without a rubber membrane, said Feola, leading to big bumps on the ends of the span. Vehicles are lifting off “as high as a bike ramp” as they travel over the bridge, he said, causing inevitable damage to the cars.

The Breeze reported more than a year ago that town officials were including the Greystone bridge on a “Transportation Improvement Plan” wish list with other pieces of infrastructure. State officials asked local officials across the state to submit projects as part of the process for creating a 10-year action plan for road and bridge repairs.

Town Planner David Westcott said at that time that the request to fix the Greystone bridge was the “most urgent” one on North Providence’s list.

The bridge, which runs alongside Cricket Field Park, needs a membrane to protect the wooden deck beneath the asphalt from infiltrating water. The roadway was repaved not long ago, but repaving without adding a membrane has led to the asphalt sliding on the wood, causing the pavement to crumble on either end of the bridge.

Wescott said listing the job as a high priority project was based on the idea that prompt installation of a waterproof membrane and new pavement could prevent further deterioration of the wood, avoiding or postponing the need for an expensive replacement of the deck in the near future.

According to the town’s 2016 submission, the Greystone bridge is one of only two crossings of the river linking North Providence to Johnston. It provides “vital access” to the 150-unit Greystone Lofts housing development, linking it to the Greystone neighborhood and Route 44. A long-term bridge closure would have negative impacts on traffic in the area, say officials.

DOT officials appear to be focusing first on two bridges that take Route 146 over North Providence roadways, one on Charles Street and the other on Mineral Spring Avenue, said Westcott. Those bridges, which were also included in the town’s Transportation Improvement Plan submission, serve both local and regional needs.

Comments

And the traffic flow is what vs. Route 146? You gotta be kidding. This is NP making work not focusing on the real issues (car taxes, real estate taxes, reducing spending, financial planning, education, fire, police contracts, debt reduction, you know the really important things.

Lack of rubber membrane has nothing to do with asphalt shifting. It is an old timber deck. Replacement is the only fix !!!! No professionals running DPW so that's the end of that !

... No offer of help from Johnston? There's a surprise.

Maybe you could help fix it with all that money you're getting out of the power plant deal?

Hey Polisena?