COVENTRY — Members of local and state government, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the Rhode Island Historic Militia assembled near the waterfall at Anthony Mill for the rededication ceremony of the Major General Nathanael Greene Memorial Bridge.
Numerous re-enactors paraded across the bridge to kick-off the event. Students from the Nathanael Greene Middle School in Providence were in attendance to learn about the man after whom their school was named.
Thomas Casey Greene, a living descendant of Nathanael Greene, was also at the dedication ceremony.
RIDOT Director Michael Lewis explained that Rhode Islanders have seen multiple natural disasters in recent years.
Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene damaged numerous homes and roads throughout the state.
“But despite the damage left behind by these storms, it might be the floods of 2010 that had the farthest reaching effects,” he said. “More than 14 inches of rain fell and the Pawtuxet River rose 21 feet, 11 feet above the flood stage. The state closed 28 roads, 20 bridges, including portions of Route 95.”
Governor Lincoln Chafee said the state is lucky because it is surrounded by so much water. He said sometimes however, water can be a liability, “and that happened in the spring of 2010.”
He said the water wiped out the bridge and the corner of the Concordia Fibers building.
Senator Jack Reed explained he and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse toured the site of the bridge in March 2010.
He said he saw the devastation and understood that repairs needed to be made.
Reed explained that the bridge is not the only structure being replaced, but RIDOT is working to fix the river beds as well.
“There’s $6 million of additional federal funding, which will supply support to strengthen and protect the river bank to make sure this facility will operate and those new condominiums will not wash away and will be here and valuable to the town.”
Lewis explained that this is the first bridge repaired using a new process called design-build.
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