Providence River Pedestrian Bridge opens

THE PROVIDENCE RIVER Pedestrian Bridge officially opened Friday. / PBN PHOTO/ARTISTIC IMAGES
THE PROVIDENCE RIVER Pedestrian Bridge officially opened Friday. / PBN PHOTO/ARTISTIC IMAGES

PROVIDENCE – The Providence River Pedestrian Bridge opened officially Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The $21.9 million project took more than a decade to come to fruition. The bridge was originally estimated to cost $2 million.

The bridge and an adjacent parks project were funded using land sale proceeds obtained when the R.I. Department of Transportation sold the Interstate 195 highway corridor lands to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, according to the governor’s office. Park spending totaled $9.2 million at the site. The parks are expected to open fully later this year. A portion of the parks project has been opened to allow access to the bridge.

The ribbon-cutting was attended by a cohort of Rhode Island officials, including Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., City Council President Sabina Matos, R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti Jr. and R.I. Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor.

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“The Providence River Pedestrian Bridge is an important new landmark for Providence and for our state,” Raimondo said in a statement. “By connecting Providence’s historic East Side and its growing Innovation District, we are strengthening the fabric of this city. This bridge will help ensure that both neighborhoods continue to be attractive places to live, work and visit for years to come.”

The bridge connects the east side of the I-195 Redevelopment District at the base of College Hill to the former I-195 land in the Jewelry District. The multi-tiered wooden bridge has benches with views of the city skyline.

In a recent interview, Alviti noted that the bridge will be nice, but that the funds could have been used to repair a number of deficient bridges in the state.

Both the bridge and the parks will be managed and maintained by the city of Providence following construction.

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