SOUTH KINGSTOWN – West Kingston residents can now rejoice. The north and south sides of the Dugway Bridge are reunited after the bridge reopened yesterday at 4 p.m.
Town Manager Stephen Alfred said Monday night the bridge is open to use by vehicles and small trucks.
The Dugway Bridge, serving 300 vehicles a day, closed on Jan. 24, 2011 when a state Department of Transportation inspection concluded that it was not safe for any vehicle use. The inspection found deterioration in the beams. This year’s closing was the second time the bridge closed. In December 2009, the bridge was closed to buses and trucks after a FedEx delivery truck hit the railing the bridge. Legal issues regarding the FedEx truck are still pending.
While the bridge was closed for the past 11 months, West Kingston residents were left in disarray, unable to cross from the north and south sides of Dugway Road. However, in September, the town approved two contracts to replace the existing steel and timber bridge with a similar steel and timber bridge.
The town council approved two separate contracts with South County Steep Inc., of 192 Waites Corner Road, West Kingston for the structural steel work for $37,000 and Reilly Construction LLC, of 7 Starline Way, Cranston for the timber deck replacement for $65,000. The total cost of the project was $98,370.
Though the town could have closed the bridge permanently, South Kingstown chose to replace the bridge because of the 12 properties located north of the bridge. Although the properties are accessible through Route 138 and Glen Rock Road, the town believed permanent closure was not a viable option.
The town is still waiting for the new guardrail to be replaced, however. Due to a delay in the fabrication of the guardrail material, it will not be completed until the spring.
“Rather than keep the bridge closed, we will line where the guardrail will be located with jersey barriers,” Alfred said.
Last month the town council approved a contract for a Woonsocket company, COSCO to replace the guardrail for $11,626, funded through Capital Improvement funds. The new approach guardrail was designed to ensure safe passage over the bridge.
Pedestrian use will be restricted until the new guardrail is in place.
For more information, pick up a copy of Wednesday's The Narragansett Times.