Revenue Driving Decisions at RIDOT – Not Safety
While RI’s Worst Bridges Crumble, RIDOT Directs $10.8 Million towards Structurally-Sufficient Oxford Street Bridge & Gantry
Providence, RI – The Oxford Street Bridge, located near the Thurbers Avenue curve on Interstate 95, is scheduled to serve as the fourth truck-toll gantry location in Governor Raimondo’s RhodeWorks program. The fifty-foot raised overpass, with a planned superstructure replacement at an estimated cost of $10.8 million, boasts a 72% sufficiency rating which, by generally accepted engineering standards, means it is not in need of urgent repair.
Rhode Island Trucking Association president Christopher Maxwell sited a 2017 letter authored by a nationally-recognized independent third-party structural engineer, Richard Walther of Wiss, Janney, Elster Associates in Chicago stated: “The Oxford Street Bridge is neither structurally-deficient nor functionally obsolete, so its inclusion in the RhodeWorks program, at this time, does not advance the state’s goal.” The state goal referenced by Walther was RIDOT’s plan to bring 90% of all bridges to sufficiency within a decade.
“It is painfully obvious that the Raimondo Administration is more interested in collecting tolls than actually focusing the state’s limited resources on critically urgent repairs” states Maxwell. “Clearly their priority is to begin collecting as many tolls as possible, as soon as possible, while in the interim public safety remains at risk.”
There are two questions that this administration must answer:
1.) Are the worst bridges being fixed first?
2.) If not, why not?
The Oxford Gantry and Bridge reconstruction begins today on the heels of America learning that Rhode Island has the worst bridges in the country, according to a new study by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).
“A construction program that continues to prioritize non-essential and non-critical work in the midst of a severe infrastructure crisis will create jobs, but does little to change the culture that led us down this embarrassing, expensive and non-sustainable path. There is a lot of taxpayer money at stake and we need to get this right.”
Press & media inquiries about this statement can be directed to Chris Maxwell at (401)265-4638.