Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Providence River Bridge/Iway Bridge, Providence, RI

Iway Bridge/Providence River Bridge
The  Providence River  Bridge in Providence, Rhode Island is a network arch bridge -- first one I've seen live -- at the mouth of the Providence River at the northern tip of Narragansett Bay. It's apparently the widest network arch bridge in the world -- seven lanes of traffic across, plus room for pedestrians. It was part of a renovation project a few years back that moved the I-95/I-195 intersection from its old position in the middle of the city to its current spot behind the Fox Point hurricane barrier, which you can see in front of the bridge, on the right.

Also, my car ;-)

Piers for the old I-195 bridge still sit in the canal
The  Providence River  Bridge (also known as the Iway Bridge) was built by the Cardi Corporation at the Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown -- the jumping off point for the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge. Once completed, it was put onto barges and floated up the bay to Providence, where cranes put it in its final position. One of the properties of this sort of bridge is the way it puts no tension on the bridge abutments, so it needn't be built in place.

The History Channel featured the Providence River Bridge on an episode of "Mega Movers -- Really Big Bridges". They show the bridge moved the 15 miles from North Kingstown to Providence. They also figure out how they would move the Golden Gate Bridge... probably worth watching. A YouTube user filmed the barge and the bridge going past up the bay; I've embedded it above.

Point Street Bridge
Just on the other side of the Fox Point hurricane barrier, the cantilever truss Point Street Bridge connects the banks of the Providence River for pedestrians and local traffic.

Providence River Bridge from the Water Street Bridge
With the completion of the Iway, Providence turned a blighted area of ruined buildings and traffic into a beautiful riverside park, capped on one side by the Providence River Bridge and the Point Street Bridge, and on the other by a series of decorative bridges that cross the river canal. There's plenty of parking all over, should you visit. India Street goes off to India Point to the east of the bridge, and that leads to the multispan arch Washington Bridge. I didn't get a picture of it (I was headed out of the city when I saw it), but that just gives me reason to return to one of the most beautiful capital cities in New England.

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