The records consist of one copy of the historic bridge documentation (text and photos on archival quality materials) prepared by Edward Connors for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation replacement of the Gansett Avenue Bridge No. 328 project.
The 1870 Beers Atlas and 1882 Hopkins maps indicate a crossing at grade of Narragansett Avenue and the tracks of the Hartford, Providence & Fishkill Railroad. The 1895 Everts and Richards Atlas map, however, indicates a grade separated crossing. It is likely that this bridge was erected to accommodate the heavier and faster electric cars of the new fairgrounds spur line. Ca 1930. detail photos at the RI Department ofTransportation indicate that this was a metal plate girder bridge.
By 1913 the City of Cranston had shortened the name of Narragansett Avenue to Gansett Avenue. The decline of the trotting park as well as the existence of Narragansett Street and Narragansett Boulevard in Edgewood likely contributed to this name change. A design drawing of Bridge No. 328 on file at the RI Department of Transportation dates from March 1930. The City of Cranston accepted the proposal of Bowerman Brothers to erect a three span concrete slab bridge with incised parapet detailing. Work commenced in the spring of 1930; the bridge was substantially complete by June of the same year. While the bridge is undistinguished in terms of its general design, the modernistic chevron pattern on a field of horizontal lines incised in the parapet is unique among Rhode Island's historic concrete bridges.
Nearly seventy years later the bridge is slated for replacement. The Hartford Providence & Fishkill line was acquired by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad as part of its acquisition of New England rail lines in the mid-1890s and abandoned in 1990. In 1997 RIDOT assumed ownership of the railroad right of way. The rails were removed subsequently and the bed graded as part of a planned Washington Secondary Bike Path.
A note on Rhode Island's Concrete Bridges The first concrete bridge built on a Rhode Island state road was the Flat River Bridge No. 71 in Coventry. By 1913 the State Board of Public Roads had established a Bridge Department under the direction of Clarence L. Hussey, a vigorous proponent of concrete bridges--from the remote, rural bridge to the most visible and urban--as a means of upgrading the state's roads to the physical requirements of the automobile. The 1930 erection of the Gansett Avenue Bridge by a municipality demonstrates a confidence in concrete born of 23 years of successful state-supervised construction.
Scope and Contents: The records consist of one copy of the historic bridge documentation (text and photos on archival quality materials) prepared by Edward Connors for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation replacement of the Gansett Avenue Bridge No. 328 project. Due to its severely detriorated condition, the superstructure of the Gansett Avenue Bridge was scheduled for replacement. As part of the mitigation, the structure has been recorded according to standards developed by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC).