Rhode Island’s Newest Landmark: the RIDOT-Built Providence River Pedestrian Bridge
Built by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), the new Providence River Pedestrian Bridge in the City of Providence is an architectural marvel, creating a pathway for connection from one side of the Providence River to the other. It is also the State’s newest landmark, garnering interest from locals and tourists alike.
It started as a simple structure that was to be built on the granite piers of the old I-195. That was in the mid-1990s. By the year 2000, the City had adopted an idea put forward by a Rhode Island School of Design student to design and build a pedestrian bridge. The City decided to hold a design competition for the proposed structure. After public hearings, starts and stops, feasibility studies and several mayors, the City chose a design.
Open August 2019, the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge was built on the old highway piers as originally planned. It features unique design elements including lighting underneath the rails, built-in chess boards, hardwood decks made from Brazilian wood, decorative planters, and special seating areas and terraces.
Offering spectacular views as it joins the heart of the City to the adjacent College Hill, Jewelry and Innovation Districts, it has turned into a gathering place for people from all over the State as it offers easy access to paths along the river and to the East Side. Its sheer beauty has made it a destination spot, enhanced by the recreational opportunities, walking, biking, chess, wedding photos, picnics, etc. In the words of U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge is more than just a crossing: “The old 195 bridge split the City and this new bridge brings it together to create a destination and a connection. This bridge will also serve as an architectural symbol for our creative capital.”