The federal government awarded $82.5 million to rehabilitate the Claiborne Pell Bridge.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the award from a competitive grant program Thursday. It’s one of 26 awards nationwide made possible by increased funding for an Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which President Biden signed in November.
“Using funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are able to support more excellent community-led projects this year than ever before,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a news release.
This round of funding included $1.5 billion nationwide, the federal government said.
Rhode Island’s $82.5 million share of that will go to the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority for work on the iconic Newport Pell Bridge. The bridge, which opened to traffic in 1969, needs some work: The money will pay for “a partial-depth reconstruction of the bridge deck and the west approach spans, installation of a dehumidification system to the main cables and anchorages, and repairs to the tower elevators,” the federal government said. It also includes acoustic monitoring and “intelligent transportation system enhancements.”
The bridge is the longest suspension bridge in New England, according to RITBA. About 27,000 vehicles cross it every day, and about 300,000 RIPTA bus riders use it every year.