Bridge inspection found hollow concrete at risk of falling

Bridge inspection found hollow concrete at risk of falling

A labeled photo from an inspection report on the Route 146 overpass over Mineral Spring Avenue shows areas that were hollow and in danger of falling.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – A state inspection made prior to a concrete-chipping operation on the underside of the Route 146 overpass crossing Mineral Spring Avenue last month found a “critical deficiency,” or sections of hollow concrete at risk of falling.

An inspection report provided to The North Providence Breeze by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation in response to a public records request described an underside of reinforced concrete frame slab with significant spalls, or previously broken away concrete, across all lanes of traffic, particularly near the crown at frame slab joints.

“The spalls have adjacent and perimeter hollow areas up to eight feet long by two feet wide that could potentially fall,” stated the June 9 report from Collins Engineers. “Inspectors tried but could not remove the hollow-sounding concrete,” so RIDOT crews were called in to do the work.

The Breeze reported a month ago that the bridge, part of a four-bridge project, will be advertised for a contractor in 2022. Two years ago, it was on the schedule to be replaced this year.

Other bridges in RIDOT’s Bridge Group 39 include the Twin River Road bridge at Route 146 in Lincoln, the Lincoln Farms bridge taking Route 146 over Charles Street in North Providence, and the Breakneck Hill Road bridge at Route 146.

The bridge has been ranked in the 20 percent of bridges statewide considered structurally deficient, with past inspections describing “areas of active deterioration.”

Officials have insisted that preventative maintenance following annual inspections such as the one described in the June 9 report keeps the bridge safe for those passing under it.