The Interstate 95 Pawtucket River Bridge project entailed replacing three separate structures with a bridge to carry I-95 northbound and southbound lanes and the on- and off-ramps to George and School Streets. Inspiration for the bridge’s art deco design came from other landmark structures in Pawtucket, RI, built during the Great Depression, such as City Hall, McCoy Stadium, and Shea High School. The new bridge’s four pillars feature representations of art deco wings on the eagles chiselled atop the tower at City Hall. The bridge, illuminated at night with colored light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, displays a graceful arch over the Pawtucket River.
Slag cement was used in all 25,000 yd3 (19,100 m3) of concrete required for this $81 million bridge project. For mass concrete placements, mixtures used 50% slag cement to control the heat of hydration and thermal cracking. The high-performance concrete for the bridge deck and all other regular and high-strength mixtures required 40% slag cement for increased durability, strength, and reduced permeability— all important performance characteristics for concrete exposed to harsh New England winters. The slag cement also made the concrete lighter and brighter, enhancing the architect’s vision and improving the brightness and reflectivity of the lights installed on the bridge, enabling it to win the 2014 Illuminating Engineering Society 2014 Illumination Award of Merit. Another national recognition was the 2014 American Transportation Under Budget Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
Project credits: State of Rhode Island, Owner; Northeast Collaborative Architects, Architect; Abernathy Lighting Design, Lighting; Commonwealth Engineers & Consultants, Inc., Engineer; S&R and Pihl A Joint Venture LLC, Contractor; Cardi Materials LLC, Concrete; and Lafarge North America, Slag Cement.