After sustaining severe damage that compromised its support system during the historic floods of March 2010, the Laurel Ave. Bridge that passes over the Pawtuxet River in Coventry had been dismantled with plans to rebuild during that same year. Its closure forced residents and emergency apparatus to take a detour through town in order to pass to and from the Anthony, Pilgrim and Oak Haven areas.
The RI Dept. of Transportation (RIDOT) awarded the $2.9 million design and construction contract to Warwick-based Cardi Corporation late last year and construction began the following spring with an estimated completion date of December 2012. This was the first design-build bridge contract for RIDOT, using a team approach with a design engineering firm and a construction company working closely together to design and replace the structure in as short a time frame as possible.
The new bridge is 84 feet long, and four feet wider than its predecessor. It includes sidewalks on both sides, affording great views of the river and adjacent mill buildings.
Nearly three years since its closure, residents of Coventry will finally be able to cross the bridge again once it is officially opened to the public at 2 .m. on Thursday, Nov. 8.
"The bridge construction ended up being completed a bit ahead of schedule," said RIDOT spokesman Charles St. Martin on Wednesday.
Steven Morin, Cardi Corp. Project Superintendent contacted Coventry Patch on Thursday morning with the good news.
"We have barriers across both sides of the bridge right now, so we just need to remove those this afternoon and then it will be good to go," he said.
Morin also explained that there will likely be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony in the near future involving Town officials, RIDOT representatives, Sen. Jack Reed and members of the Nathanael Greene Homestead Association.
The bridge will now officially be known as the General Nathanael Greene Memorial Bridge, named after the American Revolutionary War general whose , has been operated as a museum since 1924 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.