RIDOT: No delay on Albion Bridges

RIDOT: No delay on Albion Bridges

LINCOLN – Officials say residents counting down the days until the Albion Bridges re-open can rest assured that despite some snafus, the project timeline has not changed.

State officials said the bridges on School Street over the Blackstone River are still expected to open back up to traffic by late summer or fall of this year. The bridges on the Cumberland/Lincoln line have been closed since April 15 while the Rhode Island Department of Transportation rehabilitates pedestrian and safety railings for vehicles on the more than 130-year-old bridges.

In May, The Valley Breeze reported that the new railings were delivered in the wrong shade of green, and had to be returned to the facility for repainting. This month, residents in the area reported that the guardrails were delivered in the correct color but that the dimensions were incorrect.

RIDOT officials stopped short of confirming that the dimensions were incorrect, instead responding to a Breeze inquiry by stating that there has been “no change in schedule.”

Asked several times whether the railings were delivered in the wrong size, a RIDOT spokesperson said, “We are adjusting a few pieces of guardrail, but this does not affect timeline or cost.”

The bridges are open to pedestrian traffic but closed to vehicles due to the narrowness of the bridges.

Traffic to the area of School Street dramatically decreased with the temporary closure of the bridges, bringing the village to a near standstill this summer.

The Albion Post Office has been under construction for more than two years after a fire destroyed the original building, and residents there remain without home delivery. The village became quieter still when The Twisted Hop Tavern on School Street closed unexpectedly last month.

As part of the project, RIDOT plans to preserve as much of the original railing as possible, including their decorative cast iron rosettes.

This work is part of a $4.9 million nine-bridge project across nine communities, all of which are expected to be completed by this fall.