The Rhode Island government recently signed RhodeWorks, a new initiative to repair over 600 bridges and roads in Rhode Island by investing in transportation infrastructure, into law. While the plan’s main source of funding, tolling large trucks, was met with mixed response, most parties agree that Rhode Island’s infrastructure is in a dangerous state of disrepair. This photo essay highlights evident infrastructural problems in Providence and its surrounding areas.
For the second year in a row, Rhode Island has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the nation, with 178 of the 766 total bridges falling under this categorization. In total, over half of Rhode Island’s bridges are considered either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Many of these bridges were built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration and have not been tended to since.
Pleasant View Parkway Bridge, built in 1973 and located in Providence, is undergoing construction currently because of its structural deficiencies.
The largest RhodeWorks project will be the 6/10 Connector, a worn-down highway network in desperate need of repair.
Rhode Island’s issues are not limited to bridges. 70 percent of roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing motorists an average of $476 per year.
The problem also extends to schools, state buildings, and facilities. According to a 2013 report on school facilities by the Rhode Island Department of Education, 14 school buildings across the state are in such dire need of repair that their condition may “hinder the ability to deliver a 21st Century education.”
A majority of school buildings in Rhode Island were built between 50 and 100 years ago. Studies show a negative correlation between age of building and the condition rating of the facility.
Photo essay by Rachel Markell