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In fall of 2019, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) closed the two aging wooden trestle bridges that cross the Barrington and Palmer Rivers because of severe deterioration which made them unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians. Known as the East Bay Bike Path Bridges, they were built in the 1880s as railroad bridges and were converted to bike paths in the 1980s.
In 2014, RIDOT commissioned a design study as a precursor to replacing the two bridges and in 2016 allocated $10 million in its ten-year-plan for this project. The 2019 closure prompted a second evaluation of the bridges which found that the deterioration of both bridges was far worse than originally believed and that the cost of moving utilities was high. The cost to rebuild grew to about $20 million.
RIDOT is moving to create a plan that will contain the cost and provide a permanent, safe bike path. As this new plan develops, RIDOT put forward a plan that provided a safe, continuous path for cyclists that could be installed quickly and cost about $2 million. RIDOT suggested this as an interim solution as the department works toward a permanent solution. The town officials of both Warren and Barrington concurred with this plan and construction began in June 2021.
RIDOT is moving quickly to expedite a permanent, safe route across the two rivers that will be consistent with available funds.
Temporary Bike Path
Temporary repairs are now underway and we just completed the roadway restriping. Next week, plans are to install the traffic barrier and remove and store the existing Barrington Bridge traffic railing until it can be reinstalled as part of the project. This work will require overnight alternating one-way traffic on Route 114 (County Road), from the Warren Bridge to the Barrington Bridge, Sunday-Thursday nights from 8 p.m.-5 a.m.
We are preparing the final scope of work for the RFP and working with National Grid to reduce the scope of their utility work. Once we have reached an agreement with National Grid, we will be ready to send out the RFP.