CUMBERLAND â€” State Rep. Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45 Cumberland, Lincoln) is in talks with officials from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) after learning that the Manville Hill Road Bridge on the Cumberland-Lincoln line will have to remain closed until the end of April.
â€śIâ€™m very disappointed by RIDOTâ€™s decision to keep the bridge closed for such a long period of time,â€ť Representative Ackerman said. â€śThis is going to be a huge inconvenience for Cumberland and Lincoln residents, causing a traffic fiasco every day during rush hour. Iâ€™m also really concerned about the businesses that depend on that bridge traffic to survive. People were angry when they found out the bridge would be closed until the end of February, and I contacted the department to relay these concerns. But two additional months of no traffic moving through that area could be downright devastating.â€ť
The state-owned Manville Hill Road Bridge crosses the Blackstone River, the Blackstone River Bikeway and the Providence & Worcester Railroad. RIDOT closed the bridge in early December after engineers noticed significant steel and bridge beam deterioration during its inspection. Initially, RIDOT was slated to address additional repair work through an upcoming construction contract scheduled to begin in Summer 2013. However, further inspection of the bridge indicated that it needed more immediate repairs. The department estimates that the 58-year-old bridge carries about 4,300 vehicles per day.
â€śI understand the predicament that RIDOT is in, but I am going to stay on top of this situation and do all I can to make sure that this process moves as fast as possible,â€ť Representative Ackerman added. â€śMore importantly, people need to be updated on the departmentâ€™s progress so they can get a feel for when they will be able to return to their normal lives. I began a conversation with department officials in December, and Iâ€™m going to keep that line of communication open until the repairs are done.â€ť
Detour routes will remain in place until RIDOT is finished rehabilitating the bridge. The alternative routes can be found at www.dot.ri.gov/img/content/travelri/Manville.jpg.
Representative Ackerman added that anyone who has questions about the detour route or the bridge can contact RIDOTâ€™s Customer Service office at (401) 222-2450 during weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also follow RIDOT on Facebook or Twitter at @RIDOTNews.