EAST PROVIDENCE, RI – The federal government will be
investing an additional $54.5 million in Rhode Island bridge improvement and
repair projects this year thanks to provisions in a new spending law that were
authored by U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee
on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD), successfully
included a $475 million grant program in the fiscal year 2019 THUD spending law
that will provide funding to assist states with the highest percentage of
bridge deck area in poor condition. As a result, Senator Reed
estimates that Rhode Island will receive about $54.5 million to help finance its
urgently needed bridge repairs.
On Monday, February 25 at 11:00 a.m., Senator Reed will join
Governor Gina M. Raimondo, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, East Providence Mayor
Roberto DaSilva, Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter
Alviti, and labor leaders to tour the structurally deficient Henderson Bridge
and discuss efforts to make bridge improvements and transportation investments
that will help create jobs and improve the safety and efficiency of the state’s
The Henderson Bridge is a 4-lane, 2,000-foot steel girder
structure which carries vehicles over the Seekonk River from East Providence to
Providence. Henderson Bridge was declared structurally deficient in 1996
and major repairs were implemented in 2008, 2011, and 2015 at a cost of $6
million over three years. By replacing this bridge, RIDOT will reduce its
statewide structurally deficient bridge area by 12 percent and allow for better
access management for future development potential of almost
According to RIDOT, Rhode Island ranks last in the nation,
50th out of 50 states, in overall bridge condition with about 22% of the 1,162
bridges in Rhode Island classified as “structurally deficient,” which means
they require significant maintenance to remain in service and could eventually
require total rehabilitation.
In the 2019 THUD Appropriations bill, Reed delivered over
$305.8 million to help upgrade the state’s highways, bridges, and mass transit
programs and fund several key federal agencies, including the U.S. Department
Nationally, one out of every eleven bridges is structurally
deficient, and 174 million trips are taken across structurally deficient
bridges each day. These deficiencies and rates of use contribute to the
$123 billion backlog of bridge needs in the United States, according to the American
Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) report card [infrastructurereportcard.org].
Reed is urging the federal government to pass a major infrastructure
bill that provides additional funds for America’s transportation network and
invests in innovative, locally-driven transportation plans to connect people
and communities to jobs and opportunities.