As if we aren’t already having enough fun with part of the Washington Bridge Pedestrian Bridge gone, eminent work to begin on the Henderson Bridge, WPRI reports that RIDOT announced today they will be lowering the weight limit on I-95 even further:
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced it will lower the posting of the Pawtucket River Bridge between Exits 27 and 28 in Pawtucket to 18 tons. Signs will be put in place by the end of the day. That means that loaded buses and trucks weighing more than 18 tons will no longer be permitted to cross the bridge. The bridge was originally posted at 22 tons in November 2007.
This means even more commercial traffic will be funneled off I-95 via Division Street to bypass the bridge limits.
“The Pawtucket River Bridge is safe,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “However, in an abundance of caution and to further preserve its deteriorating condition until the bridge is replaced, we are lowering the posting of this bridge.”
I’m sure they are concerned about another MN type bridge atrocity, but define “safe”? If the bridge can’t handle what it was originally designed for, who can say that a bunch of 17.9999 ton trucks won’t decide to go over it at the same time? If we were to close that section of I-95 to cars completely, I’m guessing that the bridge would remain quite safe for all the pedestrians and bikes we could cram onto it for many years to come.
I caught the end of a story on NPR yesterday that discussed some towns completely closing roads, because there simply wasn’t enough funding to continue maintaining them. I wonder if some of the issues we are beginning to see here are the writing on the wall? Imagine how much cheaper it would be to maintain enough infrastructure to only support the number of cars, buses, trucks, etc. really NEEDING to drive somewhere.