State’s oldest documented masonry bridge closing for repairs

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (AP) — The oldest documented masonry bridge in Rhode Island will be closed for a year for repairs.

The historic Slatersville Stone Arch Bridge in North Smithfield is scheduled to close Tuesday, weather permitting, and remain closed through 2018.

About 8,000 vehicles traverse the bridge daily on Route 5 over the Branch River. It dates to 1855 and was deemed structurally deficient in 2007.

The state Department of Transportation plans to remove the existing roadway and most of the stone arch, refill the arch with concrete and rebuild the historic stone walls to mirror their original state.

The DOT closed half the bridge in 2013. The single-lane alternating traffic pattern has caused traffic delays.

The cost of the rehabilitation work, including historic preservation and roadway upgrades, is estimated at $13.5 million.

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