Greater City Providence

New Pawtucket River Bridge

Pawtucket River Bridge RenderingA new rendering of the new Pawtucket River Bridge has been released, all I can find online is the little image above that PBN had in their article.

Talk of the bridge around the intertubes:
The Bucket Blog: Bridge 550 an “Open” Process?
The Pawtucket Times: New highway bridge lauded as ‘iconic landmark’ in the making
Providence Business News: Pawtucket I-95 bridge design revealed

From PBN:

The task force intentionally borrowed motifs from such structures, Kazarian said. For example, Art Deco eagles adorn City Hall, and the four stone pillars on the new bridge will each be topped with a representation of an eagle’s wing similar to that seen on the City Hall tower.

Viewed from a distance downstream, the bridge will be marked by a graceful silvery arch over the water, made of metalized steel and illuminated at night with crystal-blue light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.

The Pawtucket Times reports, “The $100 million project is expected to be advertised to potential bidders this July, with construction to begin approximately a year from now, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Funds from the federal economic stimulus package will not be used for the span’s construction, according to Kazem Farhoumand, RIDOT’s chief engineer.” The project is scheduled to take 2 years to complete.

And The Bucket Blog seems not to like it.

Bridge rendering from Newport Collaborative Architects via the Providence Business News

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • Well, since this is the first time I’ve seen the rendering, it’s not the aesthetics of the design that’ve got me ticked off, but the usability. I said it back at the original meeting, I’m saying it now, and I’ll be damned if I’m not saying it in 5 years when this thing is finally done: they are delusional about how this tunnel is going to be.

    The purpose of this tunnel is to greatly shorten the bridge span and thus reduce the cost of the project. It was in no way created for the benefit of residents/pedestrians.

    When they talk about the underside of the bridge where the bike path is going, that’s the Taft St portion, which gets little pedestrian traffic. The “culvert/tunnel” section is on Pleasant St and is daily used by dozens/hundreds of residents going between East Ave/Oak Hill and downtown. And that will suck as much or more than what we have now. So, all you kids that walk to and from Shea HS, too bad for you. Somebody had a wet dream about eagle wings.

    I’m also cheesed that there was ZERO thought given to putting in stairs/ramps to connect the three different levels this bridge crosses on the west side of the river: Taft St, Pleasant St and George St.

    We’re dropping a hundred million on this project located directly in the center of the city. This edifice is a major divider of the city. This project could have made it a connector instead of a divider. But the eggheads that got their foot in the door don’t have to deal with it on a daily basis, so what do they care. It looks nice, and that’s what’s important to them.

    Finally, I defy anybody to show me one public announcement, one public meeting, one piece of information of any kind between last spring’s meeting and the announcement the other day.

    Okay, I fell better. And thanks for asking.

  • I should have specified in my original post what the meat of your opposition was, but your rant has cleared it up nicely.

    Can anyone point out a place where a tunnel such as the one proposed for Pleasant Street has been dressed up and made to work? I can’t that’s why I’m asking.

  • I’ve seen tunnels under 95 in CT that have a separate pedestrian tunnel next to the road tunnel. The problem I have with those is they become a haven for bad behavior and a great place for an attack.

  • Kazarian noted that the new design will enhance safety for both motorists and the pedestrians and bicyclists who pass under the highway. “It will be the opposite of the dreary, dark and damp environment that we have there now,” he stated.

    Yeah. And Ketchup is the only vegetable you’ll ever need to eat.

  • If there was some creativity with the tunnel, it could potentially turn into an asset. What if there were some structures built under the bridge in the tunnel that had reatil or other uses. Some type of public space could be created under there, similar to what was talked about in the branstorming session that was done a year ago with how to use the tunnel under the I-Way connecting South Water and South Main Streets with India Point Park.

  • I don’t get how this wasn’t a violation of the public meetings law?

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