Capron Road Bridge closing this month

Capron Road Bridge closing this month

SMITHFIELD – Capron Road Bridge is scheduled to close on Tuesday, Feb. 21 and likely won’t reopen until this fall, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation announced last week.

A complete replacement of this 85-year-old bridge will force a detour for the 1,500 drivers who use it daily to cross a tributary of the Woonasquatucket River in Smithfield.

This $4.3 million project is part of the department’s RhodeWorks initiative, a 10-year plan aimed at revitalizing the state’s bridges and moving up in national rankings.

Charles St. Martin, the chief of public affairs officer for RIDOT, said it is likely the bridge has had structural issues for almost 20 years.

Rhode Island ranks last in the nation in overall bridge condition and about 22 percent of the state’s 1,162 bridges are structurally deficient, according to RIDOT.

St. Martin admits “funding has been an issue for this bridge,” but with the introduction of a truck-tolling program, some funding has been made available.

The current schedule has the department reopening the bridge in late fall 2017, with completion expected in spring 2018. St. Martin said RIDOT will continue to reach out to the community, post signs, and do its best to ease the process.

The bridge will be rebuilt using a new innovative bridge design element called Northeast Extreme Tee Beams, pre-cast concrete components that, essentially, limit the amount of layers needed in construction. This allows RIDOT to limit the bridge closure to just one construction season. RIDOT also will add a sidewalk to the west side bridge, refurbish and reset historical markers, and repave the roadway leading up to the bridge, St. Martin said.

The bridge currently has a weight limit for different vehicle types, ranging from 5 tons for two-axle vehicles to 20 tons for trucks with five or more axles. Once the bridge has been replaced, the truck detour, weight limit and structurally deficient status will be removed.

During the closure, traffic will be directed to follow a detour using Stillwater Road, Route 116 (George Washington Highway), Route 104 (Farnum Pike) and Capron Road. Turn-by-turn directions are as follows. A detour map is available on RIDOT’s website at www.dot.ri.gov/detourmaps .

“We want to thank the public and the neighborhood for their patience,” St. Martin said.