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RITBA Says Mt. Hope Bridge Safe Despite Fallen Stone

A loose stone causes some residents and local kayakers to question the safety of the bridge.

A visibly displaced block at the base of the Mount Hope Bridge caused one local kayaker to question the safety of this span. 

"How safe is the Mt Hope bridge," asked Bob Obara after spotting the displacement. 

Obara, a local kayaker, took the picture above at the end of February. 

Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) Chairman David Darlington says the displacement causes no structural damage to the bridge and is not cause for alarm, reports The Sakonnet Times. 

The stone will be replaced this season.  

John ("Anything But Sue") March 15, 2012 at 11:40 PM
OK: I know there are no engineers on this board. SO: Try this: Stack up a bunch of Dominos....stack them really high..say 50 layers high.....just for the sake of conversation... on the table. NOW: See if you can slide one of the dominoes out from under the Stack at the bottom. You may be able to do this....Very Carefully. How do you feel about that in your bridge? A 3000 pound block of granite ...just FELL out of it's place.....by wave action.....Wave action Can eat out the concrete. Just look at the Old Jamestown Bridge causeway supports....now removed. Bottom line: So how much concrete has washed away in other parts of the bridge supports....that we don't need to know about...??
BOB OBARA March 16, 2012 at 04:19 PM
If the Bridge Authority was on top of the issue they would realize that there are now FIVE MISSING blocks plus two more just hanging there by a thread!
John ("Anything But Sue") March 16, 2012 at 05:18 PM
E-GADDS: Seven..??? The last time the bridge deck was repaved, the resulting asphalt surface was rippled..like a washboard. You can feel the bridge vibrate with the traffic, particularly trucks, as they roll over the washboard surface. These vibrations are transmitted into the bridge structure. SO: I wonder... if these vibrations could cause the mortar between the granite blocks to crumble, ..thus allowing the blocks to fall out...? The bridge is 83 years old, and up until the recent deck paving, ..I considered the bridge pretty well maintained, compared to the much newer (1956) Sakonnett River Bridge.
John ("Anything But Sue") March 16, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I'm going to take a guess here and suggest that the granite blocks are strictly intended as "Rip Rap" protection for the concrete towers..to protect against ICE and other floating debris, and otherwise have no structural or load supporting value. Looking at the positive....

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