Arkwright Bridge

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Historic Arkwright Bridge plaque
Arkwright Bridge
Arkwright Bridge RI.jpg
Arkwright Bridge
Arkwright Bridge is located in Rhode Island
Arkwright Bridge
Arkwright Bridge is located in the US
Arkwright Bridge
Nearest city Coventry, Rhode Island
Coordinates 41°43′49″N 71°32′49″W / 41.73028°N 71.54694°W / 41.73028; -71.54694Coordinates: 41°43′49″N 71°32′49″W / 41.73028°N 71.54694°W / 41.73028; -71.54694
Built 1888
Architect Dean & Westbrook
Architectural style Pratt Truss
NRHP reference # 78000061[1]
Added to NRHP December 12, 1978

The Arkwright Bridge is an abandoned historic bridge formerly carrying Hill Street over the Pawtuxet River in the Arkwright mill village in central Rhode Island. The river forms the border between Cranston and Coventry.

The first bridge to span the Pawtuxet River at this location was an early nineteenth century wooden bridge, located in the city of Cranston. In 1887, a special resolution was passed changing the Coventry-Cranston border to the Pawtuxet River. A new iron bridge was commissioned in 1888 by a joint building committee from both Coventry and Cranston and the responsibility for maintenance of the new bridge was to be shared by both municipalities.[2]

The bridge was built in 1888 by Dean & Westbrook for the Town of Coventry and the Interlaken Mills[3](later known as the Arkwright Mills). It is the longest surviving 19th century truss bridge in Rhode Island,[4] and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

The bridge is 128 feet, 6 inches long; 19 feet, 7 inches wide; and has and a depth of truss of 21 feet. The bridge is a single-span, through Pratt truss, built using Phoenix columns.

In 2004, there was a proposal to move the Arkwright Bridge to another location along the Pawtuxet River along the border of West Warwick, Rhode Island to be part of a proposed West Warwick Riverwalk. The bridge was ultimately not moved.[5]

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) recommended closure of the locally owned bridge. Following an inspection, RIDOT determined that the weight limit should be reduced to less than 3 tons from the previous 5 tons. Both communities closed the 123-year-old span on Friday, September 30, 2011.[6][7][8] The bridge continues to be a popular jumping and swimming spot for local youth. Approximately 12 feet of air and an average 15 feet of water.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission (1978). National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form (PDF). pp. 2–3. 
  3. ^ Information taken from bridge sign.
  4. ^ "Great American Bridges and Dams: A National Trust Guide" by Donald C. Jackson - 1988, pg. 101 (accessed on Google Books)
  5. ^ Scudder, Tracy (13 July 2004). "Arkwright Bridge to move?". Kent County Daily Times. 
  6. ^ "Traffic Advisory: Arkwright Bridge to close". Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Costa, Lauren (30 September 2011). "Arkwright Bridge Ordered Closed by RIDOT". Coventry Patch. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  8. ^ Schieldrop, Mark (29 September 2011). "Arkwright Bridge Will Close, Ending 123-years of Service". Cranston Patch. Retrieved 10 September 2012.