The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will be restricting travel through the Sakonnet River Channel for approximately one month, starting Monday, March 12. The restrictions are needed to allow for the safe removal of the old Sakonnet River Bridge.

Two large barges will be anchored in the center of the navigational channel under the bridge and remain in place 24 hours a day, closing the channel to all marine traffic. Later in March, RIDOT intends to lower the center truss segment of the old bridge onto the barges for removal.

All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change.

RIDOT selected its closure periods during the late fall and winter months to limit the impact to boaters as much as possible.

The Department began removing concrete deck segments and steel from the bridge in 2017, working from the Tiverton side of the bridge toward the Portsmouth side. This initial demolition contract focuses on removing the bridge’s superstructure, composed of approximately 6.2 million pounds of steel and 2,700 cubic yards of concrete across 17 spans between the bridge’s piers. The project is on time and on budget, with final completion scheduled for Summer 2018.

A second contract is expected to begin in 2020 to remove all remaining concrete piers in the water.

The removal of the old Sakonnet River Bridge was made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT’s ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island’s transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair, promote economic development, and create jobs. Learn more at

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).