The state of Rhode Island will demolish and replace the westbound Washington Bridge that used to carry more than 96,000 vehicles per day across the Seekonk River in the town of Providence.

The bridge was undergoing rehabilitation (link opens in new tab) in a project beset by contractual issues when Rhode Island Department of Transportation found two failed tie rods in December 2023. Because of this critical failing, it closed the bridge.

The state of Rhode Island then commissioned McNary, Bergeron and Johannesen to do an in-depth inspection of the bridge. This confirmed the decision to close the bridge and identified further significant structural deficiencies. The resulting report recommends demolition and replacement of the bridge’s superstructure and of part of its substructure.

Once a contract is awarded for the demolition and replacement work, it could be complete within 18 to 24 months. It is expected to cost between US$250 million and US$300 million.

A forensic analysis is underway that will give Rhode Island Department of Transportation insight into the cause of the bridge failure.