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The records consist of one copy of the historic resources archive documentation (text and photos on archival quality materials) for the Conant Street Railroad Bridge No. 915 prepared by Edward Connors and Associates of Riverside, Rhode Island for the Department of Transportation.
Pawtucket and Providence experienced rapid industrial and population growth in the latter half of the 19th century. This growth was encouraged by the introduction of rail service by the Providence and Worcester Railroad (P&W) in 1847. Unlike the earlier Boston and Providence Railroad, which crossed the Seekonk River and proceeded northward to Boston through East Providence, the P&W took a northerly path out of Providence to Pawtucket along the bed of the Moshassuck River.
In October 1847, the Boston and Providence Railroad obtained rights over the first 5.5 miles of the line from downtown Providence to a point in Central Falls called Boston Switch. At that point it reconnected to the earlier Boston and Providence road. Those five miles of the joint P&W/Boston & Providence lines required a number of bridges in Providence and Pawtucket, among them a crossing at Log Bridge Road (now Conant Street), an old Pawtucket highway extending from what is now Mineral Spring Avenue to points north and west. Conant Street was named for Hezekiah Conant, who acquired land along the Central Falls/Pawtucket line in 1868 for the construction of a mill complex to exploit his innovations in thread dressing and winding. This complex, expanded significantly over the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is extant. By 1880, Log Bridge Road, reflecting a route spanning the tracks, then proceeding north and east to the Conant Thread Works, was renamed Conant Street.
We can surmise from the name Log Bridge Road, which appears on the 1855 Walling and 1870 Beers maps, that the earliest highway bridge spanning the P&W tracks was a timber truss or beam bridge. Double tracking of the line from Providence to Boston Switch was carried out between 1853 and 1855. By 1895 the double tracks had been increased to four. It is likely that this expansion required the demolition of the timber bridge and the construction by Boston Bridge Works of a wrought iron Warren truss in 1882. That iron span served until the time of the construction of the present bridge in 1913.
Both the Boston & Providence and the P&W lines were absorbed into the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (NYNH&H) by 1893. Responding to an increased volume of rail traffic and weight of rolling stock, the NYNH&H carried out major improvements to the line in the late 19th and early 20th century. These improvements included the building of substantial steel truss and beam bridges to carry the increased loading and the replacement of earlier 80-pound with 100-pound rail.
Although the builder of the original bridge, the Boston Bridge Works, carried out extensive repairs on the 1882 bridge in 1907 and 1911, the Trenton, NJ plant of the American Bridge Company built the present bridge. This company, formed by the US Steel interests in 1900, consolidated 28 independently-owned bridgeworks. As part of a significant relocation of the railbed, general upgrading of the road for heavier loadings, elimination of grade crossings in the early automobile era, and an addition of spur lines in the vicinity of Conant Street, American Bridge Company constructed the present two-span bridge in 1913. This bridge was one of several overhead crossings of the NYNH&H line in Pawtucket, by this time a rapidly growing industrial and commercial center.
Scope and Contents: The records consist of one copy of the historic resources archive documentation (text and photos on archival quality materials) for the Conant Street Railroad Bridge No. 915 prepared by Edward Connors and Associates of Riverside, Rhode Island for the Department of Transportation. The Department of Transportation replacement of Conant Street Railroad Bridge No. 915 project as part of the Comprehensive Bridge Improvement Program (Group 4). The project was found to have an adverse effect on the Conant Street Railroad Bridge No. 915, a historic property that was determined eligible for listing in the the National Register of Historic Places in December 2006.