UPDATED: Tolls Will Not Delay Sakonnet River Bridge Opening
The Sakonnet River Bridge is currently 40 days past its completion date.
Despite the new Sakonnet River Bridge's northbound lanes opening in July, the bridge's ownership transfer to the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority could take some time.
"It's going to be a process," said Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesman Bryan D. Lucier.
On Friday, the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority announced they intend to bring tolls to the new Sakonnet River Bridge.
The decision followed the General Assembly's approval of a plan in the governor's budget to transfer the bridge's ownership from the DOT to the Turnpike and Bridge Authority. The budget was signed into law Friday.
The implementation of tolls, however, is not expected to delay the bridge's construction. "We're moving forward," Lucier said.
The new Sakonnet River Bridge was slated to open in May, but structure safety concerns pushed back the deadline.
The project’s contractors, the Cardi Corp., are required by contract to pay the state $26,500 per day they go over the completion deadline. As of today, the Cardi Corp. is 40 days (including Saturdays and Sundays) past its opening deadline. The bridge was expected to open on May 11.
[Updated Wednesday at 12:10 p.m.]
Lucier says some elements of the project are expected to continue into 2013. "Work will continue into 2013 on some areas of the new bridge, like the pedestrian path," he wrote in an e-mail Wednesday.
The $163.7 million project to replace the aging bridge broke ground in April 2009. The bridge connects Tiverton to Portsmouth and the rest of Aquidneck Island.