Despite improperly placed concrete and a software design issue, the Rhode Island Dept. of Transportation and its contractor are anticipating that construction of the new $163.7-million Sakonnet River Bridge will stay on budget and on schedule.

Contractor is repairing errors in concrete pours and girder design.
Photo: Courtesy RIDOT
Contractor is repairing errors in concrete pours and girder design.

The Sakonnet Bridge, a 2,065-ft steel-truss bridge, carries nearly 40,000 cars per day on Routes 24 and 138 between Portsmouth and Tiverton in eastern Rhode Island. Weight limits have been reduced to 18 tons, which leaves out large trucks.

Construction of the replacement, a steel-tub-girder design, began in 2009, with completion scheduled for mid-2013. Finishing early is a priority, says Frank Corrao III, RIDOT deputy chief engineer for construction management.

Crews last month were pouring concrete for 10 piles for a pier. The pipe piles are 6 ft in diameter and range in length from 170 ft to 240 ft. As two piles were filled, the hose used to pour concrete may have slipped, disturbing the flow and letting sand mix in.

Stephen Cardi, treasurer with general contractor Cardi Corp., Warwick, R.I., says the problem is corrected easily. “Any time we do a tremie pour, there can be roiling on the bottom, so we drill a couple of holes … and force in high-strength grout for a quick standard repair.”

In June, Commonwealth Engineers, Providence, R.I., issued a technical advisory regarding the steel tub girder design that Cardi's firm discovered after delivering shop drawings. As a result, 40 out of 120 girders required reinforcing. “In the area around the girder access hatches, the steel needed a stiffener,” Cardi says. I-beams will reinforce the girders, which are still in fabrication.