Newport Pell Bridge

Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) and Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton) are sponsoring legislation that would require safety barriers or netting on the three bridges that connect Aquidneck and Conanicut islands to the Rhode Island mainland.

The bill (2022-H 7383) would direct the Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, to erect the barriers on the Mount Hope Bridge, the Claiborne Pell Bridge, and the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge by Jan. 1, 2023.

“Too many people have lost their lives on those bridges in the last decade,” said Representative Solomon in a statement. “Due to technological advances, there are various types of barriers and netting available to increase safety without hindering access for routine inspection and maintenance of the bridges.”

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority have suicide prevention measures in place, including a smart surveillance system allowing authorities to act quickly, but virtually no way to deter a determined jumper, according to the press release. The Rhode Island Samaritans also have signs posted at the bridge entrances with information for those contemplating suicide.

“This is an all-too-frequent tragedy,” said Senator DiPalma in a statement. “The cost of suicide is great. Not only is there a tragic loss of life, but those left behind can spend their lives struggling with grief, anxiety and guilt. Beyond that, suicides and suicide attempts cost the nation almost $70 billion per year in lifetime medical and work-loss costs according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.