Rhode Island DOT Opens Bridge a Month Ahead of Schedule

AASHTO Journal, 7 September 2012

A vital community bridge was replaced and reopened by Rhode Island Department of Transportation a month ahead of schedule last Friday with the help of a little innovation.

The Frenchtown Brook Bridge in East Greenwich, built in 1959, was deemed structurally deficient and suffered from constant weight restrictions.

RIDOT wanted to replace the bridge as quickly as possible, so the agency opted to utilize Accelerated Bridge Construction methods to build the new $1.9 million bridge. RIDOT found the method would increase safety, reduce maintenance and life cycle costs, reduce construction congestion, and greatly cut down on the amount of time for construction. With the ABC method in mind, RIDOT decided to allow a maximum of 65 days for the project from start to finish.

However, by working closely with contractor Aetna Bridge Company (which received a $3,000 per day incentive, up to 30 days, to finish early), RIDOT was able to demolish the old bridge, assemble the new structure using precast concrete components, and reopen the road to traffic in only 33 days, which was a month ahead of schedule.

“Going into this project, we knew it would take only a third of the time to replace this bridge compared with the time it would have taken if we used traditional construction methods,” said RIDOT Director Michael Lewis in a statement. “We are pleased to be able to take this approach with the Frenchtown Brook Bridge and reopen it as quickly as possible for drivers in Each Greenwich and North Kingstown who rely on this bridge on a daily basis.”

The project was so successful that RIDOT noted it will evaluate all future bridge projects to see if they could be build using the ABC method.

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