RIDOT closing Portsmouth's Escape Bridge tomorrow due to deterioration

The RI Dept of Transportation (RIDOT) will close the Escape Bridge (what they insist on calling the "Cove Bridge" until the second graf) in Island Park tomorrow, Friday, Nov 4, because "a recent inspection revealed deterioration significant enough to prompt RIDOT to close the span," the agency said in a press release today.

RIDOT had already awarded a bridge rehabilitation project for the Cove Bridge, which called for the total closure of the bridge during its rehabilitation. After consulting with the community, RIDOT chose to keep the bridge open during hurricane season as Hummocks Point Road is one of two roads that serve as evacuation routes for the Island Park area. Additionally, RIDOT did not want to close the bridge until all materials had been fabricated in an effort to minimize the duration of the closure. However, RIDOT must close the bridge earlier in light of the findings of the recent inspection.

With the early closure of the bridge, RIDOT will work with the contractor to commence construction operations as soon as possible. Through a $2 million contract with Cardi Corporation, RIDOT will replace the superstructure of the 50-year-old bridge. The bridge is expected to remain closed until late Spring 2012.

“Public safety is always our top priority,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “We regret any inconvenience this early closure may cause. We will work to keep the community well-informed as the project progresses.”

Motorists will be directed to follow a detour using Park Avenue, Anthony Road and Boyds Lane. A detour map will be posted on RIDOT’s website (www.dot.ri.gov).

Those with questions can contact RIDOT’s Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional information will be available on RIDOT’s social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Blogger.

Editorial note: Written from a press release, mostly.