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Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority | State Archives Catalog

Name: Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority

Historical Note:

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority was created in 1954 (P.L. 3390) by the Rhode Island General Assembly as a corporate body with authority to construct, acquire, maintain and operate bridge projects as defined by law.  The Authority was created in order to facilitate vehicular traffic, … alleviate barriers caused by large bodies of water and promote the agriculture and industrial development of the state (PL. 3390 Sec. 3).  In 1963, Public Law chapter 165 amended Title 24, Chapter 12 to dissolve the Mount Hope Bridge Authority and Jamestown Bridge Commission whose authorities and powers were transferred to the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority.  The Authority was responsible for the Construction of the Pell (formerly Newport) Bridge that opened to traffic June 28, 1969.

The Authority is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Pell Bridge between Jamestown and Newport, and the Mount Hope Bridge between Portsmouth and Bristol.  The Authority consists of five (5) members, including the Director of the Department of Transportation who is a member ex-officio and four (4) members appointed by the Governor for four (4) year terms.

The construction of the Mount Hope Bridge began December 16, 1927 and was opened to traffic October 24, 1929.  The Bridge is a wire cable suspension type with steel viaduct approaches.  The total length of the bridge is 6,130 feet with the height of the main towers above the water being 285 feet.  With a main span of 1200 feet, the Mount Hope Bridge was once the longest suspension span bridge in New England. (Information Tablet, Kiosk Plan, 2000).

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