‘Reckoning’ on Washington Bridge delayed: Forensic analysis now due next week at earliest 

Looks like the “day of reckoning” Gov. Daniel J. McKee promised might have to wait an additional week. 

R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti Jr. told Rhode Island Current Thursday that the much-anticipated forensic analysis detailing who is to blame for last December’s sudden closure of the western portion of the Washington Bridge will be completed “hopefully next week.” 

“It could be next week, it could be the week after,” Alviti said in an interview after the R.i. Public Transit Authority board of directors, which he chairs, ended. “There’s an analysis that goes along with that.” 

Alviti could not say what that analysis will include. 

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“I purposely stayed out of it because I wanted it to remain independent and autonomous from RIDOT,” he said. “When I get it, I’ll see it for the first time.” 

The forensic report is being produced by Boston-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates. That analysis will be reviewed by McNary Bergeron and Johannesen, the firm hired by the Department of Administration to provide oversight of the process.  

When state officials announced on March 14 that the western Washington Bridge would need to be replaced, Alviti initially estimated that a forensic report would be ready in about two weeks. At the time, the project’s cost was estimated to range between $250 million and $300 million. 

McKee, who has said repeatedly that he welcomes oversight, told WPRI-12 on Tuesday he was expecting a final report “within the next week” and would brief the media on any of the analysis’ findings. 

“We’ll lay out that path in terms of holding accountability,” McKee said. “We fully intend to hold individuals accountable.” 

McKee spokesperson Olivia DaRocha clarified Thursday afternoon that “the timeline is still up in the air” of when the governor expects to receive the report. 

“When we get it, we’ll let you guys know,” she said. 

Christopher Shea is a staff writer for the Rhode island Current.