Fixing the Federal Hill Arch

In Parks/Open Space by Jef Nickerson11 Comments

Speculation on my part here, but I’m imagining the installation of Jersey Barriers here is a sign that the renovations to the Federal Hill Arch support columns is finally happening.

Way back in ’09 I posted some photos of the crumbling concrete on the arch’s columns. The Providence Journal also reported that the city was putting a repair job out to bid:

Chief engineer William Bombard said the arch’s four support columns are badly deteriorated, and the city will have to invest between $30,000 to $80,000 to have them wrapped in carbon fiber to prevent further erosion.

It of course would have been nice if the arch had been built properly to begin with:

“It’s possible a lower-grade concrete was used, or there was too much water in the mix when it was made. It should have lasted much longer,” Bombard said.

The arch was comissioned in 1977 and completed in 1980.

Does anyone have the official scoop on what is going on here?

Update: Councilman Principe posted on his Facebook page that this is indeed work on the arch (there’s really nothing else it could have been really). The Jersey Barriers are blocking off the outside lanes of the street to allow pedestrians to walk there. Unfortunately, they’ve yet to install ramps to allow wheelchairs to get from the sidewalk, down to the street, and back up to the sidewalk.

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Jef Nickerson

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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.

Comments

  1. I see no cones on it, there is no way it is being fixed.

  2. @brick – I almost spit out my coffee!

    They should be wary of wrapping it in carbon fiber. This could only attract a swarm of road bike dorks and owners of exotic sports cars. Not the kind of element you want on Federal Hill.

  3. Author

    The last thing we need on Federal Hill is road bike dorks. Luckily, we have no place for them to park so they mostly stay away.

  4. Author

    And PS, “Put a Jersey Barrier on it” is the new “Put a cone on it.”

  5. Author

    Councilman Principe posted on his Facebook page that this is indeed work on the arch (there’s really nothing else it could have been really). The Jersey Barriers are blocking off the outside lanes of the street to allow pedestrians to walk there. Unfortunately, they’ve yet to install ramps to allow wheelchairs to get from the sidewalk, down to the street, and back up to the sidewalk.

  6. The arch isn’t a very large sculpture. For $80,000, They should be able to get the whole thing remade out of steel. As traditionalist road bike dorks know, steel is at least as strong as carbon fiber. And steel could be painted later to look like decaying concrete, if the goal is to evoke nostalgia for 1980s Providence.

  7. @dialectric: I’m guessing are firmly on the “retrogrouch” side of the “retrogrouch/neophile” roadie split. Maybe if they wrapped it in carbon fiber it would repel anyone trying to use it as a gathering point for a critical mass.

    All kidding aside, rebuilding it in steel would be vastly preferable to crumbling concrete or carbon fiber.

  8. Author

    No ramps for wheelchairs, but there are these nifty yellow stripes for people in wheelchairs to look at while they are stranded on the sidewalk and unable to continue any further down the street:

  9. you just can’t make this stuff up ….

    see ? here ! yes, here ! where the yellow tape is … yes Providence citizen, we the City want to call your attention to exactly where we are violating your civil rights …

  10. It wouldn’t be difficult to add temporary plywood ramps set to an ADA slope to straddle between the sidewalk and the roadway levels. Perhaps someone at City Hall is reading this and can address the issue.

    At least a serious effort was made to protect pedestrians from vehicles by placing temporary Jersey barriers in the street, which is a great improvement over the Dean Street renovation last year.

  11. Author

    These barricades went up in April, and there is still no sign of actual work on the arch, but contractors did move the jersey barriers so it looks like a wheelchair could actually move through here now.

    Atwells sidewalk detour

    Of course, this morning a crew from Lamar was parked on the street blocking this egress, and they had another car parked on the sidewalk blocking everyone else. I assume this means the fallen over bus shelter is finally being replaced though.

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