State of rhode island and providence plantations

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Department of Transportation

Historic Bridge Inventory Form
Washington Bike Path -Pawtuxet River South Bridge

Bridge No. 110601

Location: Washington Secondary Bike Path over Pawtuxet River South, Coventry

Structure type: Steel stringer/girder

Year built: 1903 (see below) Year reconstructed: N/A

Use: Trail bridge

Ownership: State - RIDOT
Basic dimensional information:

Overall length: 255’

Number of spans: 3

Maximum span length: 97’

Roadway width: 12’ (bike path)

Approx. height over feature spanned: 8’

Skew: approx. 30°
Setting: Relatively dense industrial and residential development.
Historic district(s): Hartford, Providence and Fishkill Railroad (determined eligible); Anthony Village Historic District (listed)

Date of field inspection and photography: 3/31/2014


The bridge consists of three spans of riveted deck plate girders. The girders have angle-iron top, bottom, and transverse bracing. The girder for the center span have a greater depth, 9’ versus 7 ½’ for the other two spans. The spans rest on stone ashlar abutments and river piers.

Historical Background:

According to the Determination of Eligibility document, the bridge was built in 1903. The line was first built as the main line of the Hartford, Providence and Fishkill Railroad in 1854, but by the time this bridge was built, it was a secondary freight line within the New York, New Haven, and Hartford system. Railroads in this period favored plate-girders because they were strong, simple to transport and assemble (the girders were typically prefabricated and brought to the site on flat cars), and, unlike trusses, created no problems of vertical clearance. The New Haven repeatedly upgraded its girder bridges through about 1910 in order to account for the increasing weight requirements of steam engines and their tenders.


The structure typifies railroad bridge engineering of the period (National Register Criterion C) as a well-preserved, representative example of plate-girder construction. Both the Consensus Determination of Eligibility documentation for the Hartford, Providence and Fishkill Railroad and the National Register documentation for the Anthony Village Historic District list the bridge as a contributing element.


The structure should continue to be a contributing structure of the determined eligible Hartford, Providence and Fishkill Railroad historic property and the NR-listed Anthony Village Historic District.

Sources of Information:

Hartford, Providence and Fishkill Railroad Determination of Eligibility, 1998.

RIDOT Bridge Drawings, 2002.
Prepared by: Bruce Clouette, Historian Date: June 24, 2017

Archaeological and Historical Services, Inc.

Storrs, CT 06268

East end, camera facing west (DSC03295.JPG).

South elevation, camera facing northwest (DSC03292.JPG).

North elevation, camera facing west (DSC03301.JPG).

Underside showing cross-bracing (DSC03290.JPG).

Detail of rocker bearings (DSC03289.JPG).

Detail of stone piers (DSC03293.JPG).

Detail of abutment (DSC03294.JPG).


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