TIVERTON, R.I. (WLNE) — It really is the end of the road for the old Sakonnet River Bridge. It was famously replaced a few years ago, and now it's time for what's left of it to come down.
Crews have been working on it for a while, but now is when you'll really start to notice the demolition. In fact, if you've driven along Route 24 between Tiverton and Portsmouth in the past week, you've probably noticed more activity on the old bridge.
The old bridge opened in 1956, and lasted nearly sixty years before it was replaced in 2012. Now, piece by piece, it's being taken down.
RIDOT’s Chief Engineer David Fish says, “It's unsightly. It's not fair to the residents of Tiverton. As you can see from being up here, it's got some pristine views to the water way, Portsmouth, the bay, Tiverton.”
Contractors have been at work since march.
Fish says, “They installed some debris shield, some netting to make sure that none of the migratory birds were able to roost on the existing steel. They've taken some of the existing guardrail down.”
But now, drivers along Route 24 can see crews removing the road deck. They started on the Tiverton side, and are making their way toward Portsmouth.
Fish says, “They're removing about 20 to 30 feet of the concrete deck each day.”
After that, they'll start removing the steel pieces.
Fish says, “We anticipate that this winter, they'll be removing the main span. The contractor is really just kind of finishing up the engineering to see how they're going to take that apart.”
Most of the bridge should be gone by Memorial Day 2018. They expect everything above the water to be gone by July. Then, they can start removing the piers in the water. They expect to start that phase in the spring of 2019.