AASHTO Journal, 12 April 2013
Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials joined Gov. Lincoln Chaffee last week to announce the launch of an I-95 bridge preservation program that will help to keep the bridges on the interstate in good shape for a longer period of time, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars.
RIDOT said the program’s goal is to “address issues with the steel and concrete deterioration that eventually hasten the service life of these bridges,” which would necessitate expensive fixes or replacements. The department simply wants to catch issues before they become problematic for both RIDOT and I-95 drivers.
“This program will allow RIDOT to undertake preventative maintenance and repairs in a way we have not done before,” said RIDOT Director and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President Mike Lewis in a statement. “We expect over the long term it will save money by reducing the number and frequency of more costly rehabilitation projects.”
Failure to enact a bridge maintenance repair program would mean current bridges would deteriorate and be placed on the state’s list of structurally deficient bridges at a rate that would “outpace” the number of bridges the department repairs, according to RIDOT.
Upon announcing the project, RIDOT said the first $4.9 million contract, which includes work on 13 bridges on I-95, was underway. Work on those bridges is scheduled to be completed this fall. The entire I-95 bridge preservation program, which will continue for roughly four years, will include 30 bridges that pass over I-95 and that carry I-95 over state and local roads. Once those bridges have been addressed, RIDOT plans to extend the program to various other highway corridors. Work included on the bridges ranges from concrete patching and sealing, to steel repair, to bridge washing and painting.
“While our top priority is the safety and longevity of these structures, we are well aware of the impression deteriorated bridge components give to Rhode Islanders and visitors to our state,” Lewis said. “We are committed to improving both the condition and appearance of our highway system.”