The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will detour seven routes in downtown Providence on Tuesday, January 13, while the East Side Tunnel will be closed for inspection. Routes 1, 35, 40, 49, 61X, 78, and 92 will be detoured from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The tunnel, which was closed for three days in November due to a water main break, has been deemed structurally sound. Additional testing has been scheduled for Tuesday, January 13, to determine if surface repair work is needed on the interior of the masonry structure. Engineers will inspect the gunite coating inside the tunnel to determine if it is in danger of flaking off because of damage sustained during the water leak.
RIPTA safety officials said that damage from the November water main break appears to have affected about 200-feet of gunite coating in the roughly one-half-mile long tunnel which allows buses servicing Providence’s East Side to avoid the steep slope of College Hill. Gunite, sometimes used to line swimming pools, is a concrete-like coating that was applied to the interior of the tunnel more than 20 years ago.
“This is not a structural issue,” said Barbara Polichetti, RIPTA Director of Public Affairs. “Upon initial inspection surface cracks could be seen in the gunite can be seen along the first couple hundred feet of the tunnel. Engineers will now be checking to see if there are any areas where that coating might be likely to flake or chip off.”
Any areas where the coating needs to be removed will be done that day, Polichetti said. The work is being done by Beta Inc., an engineering company based in Norwood, Massachusetts.
The work is being scheduled to avoid detours at peak morning and evening times.
The following routes will be detoured on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m.:
Routes 1, 35, 40, 49, 61x, 78 and 92: All outbound (northbound) trips on will operate via Washington Street, then left onto North Main Street, right onto Olney Street, right onto Hope Street to Thayer Street, left onto Waterman Street, and then resume regular route.
All inbound (southbound) trips will travel their usual routes to Thayer and Angell Streets and then use Angell and Steeple Streets to return to their regular routes.
For more information on schedules or other RIPTA services,please call 401-781-9400 or visit ripta.com.