Fire puts future of 113-year-old drawbridge up in the air

Providence firefighters train water on the permanently open Crook Point railroad bridge over the Seekonk River which caught fire the night of June 29, 2021. Photo: RI Department of Transportation

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The future of a historic Rhode Island drawbridge that has been stuck in the up position for decades is in doubt after an overnight fire, state transportation officials said Wednesday.

Firefighters responded to the Crook Point Bascule Bridge in Providence around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Providence Fire Department, and remained on the scene well into Wednesday morning.

No injuries were reported. The cause remains under investigation.

The state Department of Transportation in an email said it would send engineers to check on the structural integrity of the 113-year-old railroad bridge over the Seekonk River, which was due to be transferred to the city.

“If the structural assessment after this fire shows the bridge to be sound, the transfer can take place,” the statement said. “If it is found to be not sound, and if the city does not want to make the necessary repairs to make it safe, RIDOT would move up the demolition date.”

The city planned to turn it into an illuminated art installation and make the surrounding area public. The bridge that has remained in the up position since 1976 would not be made functional again under the city’s plan.

Mayor Jorge Elorza said the city is monitoring the situation.


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