Geneva Pond Bridge shutting down Monday

Geneva Pond Bridge shutting down Monday

The detour map around the Geneva Pond Bridge in North Providence.
Lombardi: Easy detour, alternate routes available

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The tiny Geneva Pond Bridge, barely noticeable as one crosses from North Providence into Providence along Route 7 Douglas Avenue, is about to get a whole lot more name recognition locally.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation announced this week that next Monday, April 15, it will close the Geneva Pond Bridge, a span carrying Douglas Avenue over the West River, which runs between Geneva Pond and Wanskuck Pond. As part of a planned $5.2 million project, RIDOT will replace the entire structure, and it will likely remain closed until the fall of this year.

Officials previously announced that the bridge would stay closed from April to October.

Mayor Charles Lombardi previously asked that the 1916 bridge near Geneva Mills stay open for the duration of the project, but was told no. Lombardi said this week that RIDOT has been “very cooperative,” including agreeing to do the work in two phases so the bridge won’t be closed as long as it could be.

Contractor Manafort Brothers has also agreed to complete the work as quickly as possible. All construction schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change, according to RIDOT.

The 103-year-old bridge carries 10,500 vehicles per day and is classified as structurally deficient. It has a 15-ton weight limit for cars and a 34-ton weight limit for large trucks. The bridge will be rebuilt in its original footprint, with new sidewalks on both sides, according to a release Monday from RIDOT.

During the bridge’s closure, all traffic will follow a detour using Cushing Street, to Smithfield Road to Lubec Street. Lombardi said motorists coming from the North Providence side will use Cushing Street near where the Geneva Fire Station used to be.

When people realize there’s a detour here, said the mayor, he expects many of them to seek out easy alternate routes, including coming down Twin River Road over to Route 146, going left or right on Mineral Spring Avenue, down Mineral Spring Avenue to Woodward Road, or “a few other ways” available to them.

“Once people are informed of their alternative routes, I think it’s going to be OK,” he said. Very few businesses in this particular area depend on drive-by traffic, he said.

Because the bridge will be completely demolished, it also will be closed for pedestrians. RIDOT has coordinated with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority and nearby housing complexes to offer a free para-transit service that residents can use from their homes to businesses on the other side of the bridge. The free service will remain throughout the duration of the bridge closure.