Sakonnet River Bridge
|Sakonnet River Bridge|
Sakonnet River Bridge (Truss), 1956-2012, Slated for Demolition 2014
|Carries||Route 24 / Route 138|
|Locale||between Portsmouth and Tiverton|
The Sakonnet River Bridge is a four-lane bridge spanning the Sakonnet River in eastern Rhode Island. The bridge carries RI 24 and RI 138 between the communities of Portsmouth and Tiverton, Rhode Island. The truss bridge was built in 1956 but closed and replaced in September 2012 with a box girder bridge. The replacement of the Sakonnet Bridge ended a several years long ban of heavy commercial vehicles weighing over 18 tons. Currently, there is intense debate among the Portsmouth and Tiverton communities over Rhode Island legislation authorizing tolls on the new box girder bridge.
The Sakonnet River Bridge (truss) opened in 1956 as a replacement for the Stone Bridge, about 0.8 mi (1.3 km) to the south. It became part of RI 24 during the 1960s after the completion of the Portsmouth and Tiverton Expressways. At one point, it was briefly considered for inclusion as part of the never-built Interstate 895. Upon completion of the new Sakonnet River Bridge (box girder bridge) in September 2012, the old truss bridge was closed.
Bicycles were not permitted on the old bridge, but will soon be allowed on the new bridge. 
Also, there are now tolls on this bridge starting August 19, 2013. After a lengthy legal battle the toll was set at 10 cents per crossing, and will remain 10 cents through at least mid-2014. Toll collection is electronic only. Since there is no official plan on how tolls are to be collected from Non-EZPass users, the state is asking those travelers to pay using the honor system. 
By the late 1990s, the Sakonnet River Bridge's design had become obsolete, and transportation planners began to develop a plan for the bridge's future. Significant deterioration of the bridge necessitated a ban of vehicles weighing over 18 tons, re-routing traffic over the narrower and less commercial truck-friendly RI 136/114 and the Mount Hope Bridge  In 2003, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced plans for a $120 million (USD) replacement bridge to be built just south of the existing bridge. Groundbreaking for the new bridge took place in April 2009, and the bridge opened behind schedule in September 2012. RIDOT expects to advertise for the demolition of the old truss bridge in 2014.  
- "Future Sakonnet River Bridge Bike Path". Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Sakonnet River Bridge Tolls". Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "RIDOT to Lower Posting on Sakonnet River Bridge: Weight Limit to be Set at 18 Tons". RIDOT Press Release. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Sakonnet River Bridge". Haley & Aldrich, Inc. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
- "Sakonnet River Bridge Replacement Project". RIDOT. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
- Web site containing engineering impact documents for the replacement of the Sakonnet River Bridge.
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