Point Street Bridge

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Point Street Bridge
Point Street Bridge, Providence, Rhode Island
Point Street Bridge, spanning the Providence River
Coordinates41°49′04″N 71°24′13″W / 41.81788°N 71.40367°W / 41.81788; -71.40367Coordinates: 41°49′04″N 71°24′13″W / 41.81788°N 71.40367°W / 41.81788; -71.40367
CarriesTwo lanes of Point Street
CrossesProvidence River
OwnerCity of Providence
Maintained byCity of Providence
ID number9800
DesignSwing bridge
Total length160.9 metres (528 ft)
Width11.9 metres (39 ft)
Constructed byBoston Bridge Works Inc.
Construction end1927 (reconstructed 1999)
Opened1927 (1927)
ReplacesSwing bridge built in 1872
Point Street Bridge is located in Rhode Island
Point Street Bridge
Point Street Bridge
Location in Rhode Island
Point Street Bridge is located in the United States
Point Street Bridge
Point Street Bridge
Point Street Bridge (the United States)
National Bridge Inventory

The Point Street Bridge is a movable bridge that crosses the Providence River in Providence, Rhode Island, carrying Point Street from the Jewelry District to Wickenden Street at the base of College Hill.


The first bridge at this site was built in 1872.[1] It consisted of a swing span 249 feet (76 m) in length with two 145 feet (44 m) shore spans. In 1907, each of the approach spans was divided into three plate-girder spans carried on new granite piers and abutments. However, funding was insufficient to replace the swing span, so its length was merely increased to 284 feet (87 m).[2]

The current bridge is the third at this site. It is also a swing bridge and was built by the Boston Bridge Works Inc. in 1927.[3] The bridge is no longer moveable but fixed in place to allow Point Street traffic to cross. It was last swung open in 1959.[4] The Fox Point Hurricane Barrier, downstream of the Point Street Bridge and completed in 1966, rendered the swing feature of little value, because the Barrier blocks large vessels from traveling upstream before the bridge would.

After WW-II, Route 1A became a major route carrying traffic from southern RI to the East Side of Providence, and points east. The Point Street Bridge was part of that route, and on exceptionally hot summer days, the bridge would expand after it opened, and with nowhere to bleed off the heat, it expanded to a point where it couldn't be closed. Traffic built up for several miles and fire tankers had to be summoned to shoot water on the bridge until it shrunk back to a size (only an inch or two) so it could be closed and let traffic resume.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Providence's Golden Age: 1868-1899". Providence City Archives. City of Providence, RI. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  2. ^ Maker, G. W. (8 December 1927). "Foundation Problems in Enlarging Center Pier of Swing Bridge at Providence". Engineering News-Record. 99 (23): 927.
  3. ^ "Historic Highway Bridges of Rhode Island" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. p. 50. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  4. ^ Mingis, Ken (17 January 1997). "Rebuilding a bridge to the past *The iron gridwork of the Point Street Bridge will be preserved, but the bridge will no longer swing open". Providence Journal. Retrieved 4 August 2014.

External links[edit]

A previous Point Street Bridge from the Providence Public Library's Digital Collections

Article containing a photograph of the previous Point Street Bridge from the Providence Journal