Guardrails at Albion bridges delivered in wrong color

Guardrails at Albion bridges delivered in wrong color

Two bridges in Albion are currently undergoing a rehabilitation project. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has confirmed that some of the guardrails were delivered in the wrong color green and were not installed, instead being returned to be painted over in the correct shade. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – State officials are promising that repairs on two Albion bridges will still be completed by the end of summer despite a supplier snafu this week that had neighbors shaking their heads.

Rhode Island Department of Transportation spokesman Charles St. Martin confirmed claims that guardrails for the bridges were delivered in the wrong color, a slightly darker shade of green, but said there will be no delay or change in project schedule as a result.

St. Martin said the incorrect guardrails were not actually installed, and that they would be returned to the facility for repainting. The state will not be responsible for the cost of repainting.

“This work is done in a facility to ensure a high-quality finish that will be durable and long lasting,” he said. “The contractor will ensure the proper railing, in the specified color, will be installed at the bridge.”

St. Martin previously told The Valley Breeze that RIDOT would recover as much of the original railings as possible, including their decorative cast iron rosettes along the full length of the bridge. Any portions of the railings that could not be rehabilitated would be replaced with new materials that match the original railings.

Portions of one side of the bridge have already been replaced with new material, which is a slightly lighter shade of green. As of press time, RIDOT had not confirmed whether the entire structure would be assembled in that lighter color.

As a historic structure, the span must be maintained exactly as it would have been when it was first built.

An Albion resident took to social media last week to notify his neighbors about what he called “another only-in-Rhode Island” mix-up concerning the project, which calls for the bridges’ rotting railings and historic trusses to be replaced.

Michael Napolitano suggested that the bridge work has been delayed because the manufacturer sent the wrong color.

Said St. Martin, this is “not expected to affect the reopening of the bridges in late summer.”

The two bridges on the Cumberland/Lincoln line closed on April 15 and were projected to reopen in late summer/fall 2019.

The work is being completed as part of a group of nine bridge projects totaling $4.9 million, with the two Albion bridges accounting for about $1.2 million. The entire project will be completed in fall 2019.

The nearly 130-year-old bridges, which pass over the Blackstone River and a small canal via School Street, will be open to pedestrian traffic only until the project is complete.

Napolitano said this latest issue with the bridge rehabilitation is the latest in a long string of them.

“I’ve lived in Albion for 30 years and every time they work on this bridge there’s another problem or delay,” he said. “Here we go again.”