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City bans trucks in response to 2 year Washington Bridge closure

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Officials in Providence, Rhode Island voted to ban trucks over a certain weight from city streets after an increase in traffic due to the 2 year Washington Bridge closure. 

The Route 195 Washington Bridge in Rhode Island was first deemed unsafe back in December, when engineers noticed an issue with steel pins on the bridge. After the discovery, officials shut down the westbound side of the bridge, causing “chaos” on the streets of Rhode Island as drivers sought new routes to replace the bridge. Now, engineers are recommending the entire structure be torn down and rebuilt – a process that is expected to result in a 2 year Washington Bridge closure.

As a result of increased truck traffic on city streets due to the bridge closure, Providence City Councillors voted to put a weight limit on semi trucks diverted onto city streets. Officials hope that this cap will not only save their city’s infrastructure from being damaged, but keep the quality of life up for citizens in the area.  

“In short, this new law, which will set weight limits for vehicles on certain bridges and streets, is a big step towards protecting our city’s infrastructure,” said Councilmen John Goncalves to The Providence Journal.  “It will help prevent more damage to our local roads and bridges, make sure they last longer, make our streets safer for everyone and improve quality of life for our residents.”

The ordinance would ban trucks over 50,000 pounds from Angell Street between Benefit Street and Butler Avenue, Waterman Street between Benefit Street and Butler Avenue, and Gano Street between Angell Street and Trenton Street. Exemptions were included in the ordinance for city-owned vehicles, garbage trucks, and trucks looking to park next to a restricted roadway. Truckers who break the rules could see fines of $200. A second vote will be required to pass the ordinance. 

“Now that we know that this closure will be ongoing for the next two years, my Administration is beginning to make permanent changes to alleviate the continued burden on our residents and local businesses,” said mayor Brett Smiley. “Our city streets were not designed for heavy truck traffic, and this ordinance blocking them from using these streets is a critical step in preserving both our infrastructure and our local quality of life.”

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