Howard Road bridge in Cumberland shut down

Howard Road bridge in Cumberland shut down

The Howard Road bridge after temporary repairs were completed last year.

CUMBERLAND – A significant connection point between Cumberland and North Attleboro, Mass., has been shut down, with no word yet on when it might reopen.

The Howard Road bridge, connecting Abbott Run Valley Road in Cumberland with Massachusetts, was shut down temporarily on Friday, according to Cumberland town officials.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation recommended the closure after recently inspecting the wood structure, said Mayor Bill Murray. The closing causes a detour for residents in the area.

Frank Stowik, senior foreman for the Cumberland Highway Department, said the town received an insurance claim from a woman last week stating that her car had received a flat tire

It appears, said Stowik, that the bridge “let go” structurally, with reports of boards on the east side of the bridge flying up as cars crossed over. The span is now showing a drop of about four inches from one side to the other, he said.

Stowik said there was some concern about loose boards going through someone’s leg or causing a car accident.

The bridge may not be reparable, said Stowik, and may have to be replaced.

DOT officials will assess the bridge to see whether interim repairs can be completed.

Bridge closure and detour signage will be installed as quickly as possible, according to Murray.

The following are the detours now in place:

• From Abbott Run Valley Road in Cumberland, follow that road northward to Rawson Road. Turn right and then follow Rawson Road to Paine Road in Massachusetts. Turn right and follow Paine Road to Hawkins Road. Turn right and follow Hawkins Road back to Howard Road in Cumberland.

• From Paine Road in Massachusetts, follow Paine northward to Rawson Road, then turn left and follow Rawson into Cumberland, ending at Abbott Run Valley Road.