Washington Bridge reporting legislation signed by governor


STATE HOUSE — Legislation from Senate Majority Whip Valarie J. Lawson and House Majority Whip Katherine S. Kazarian requiring regular monthly updates from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation on the state of the Washington Bridge was signed Friday by the governor.

“This legislation ensures that everyone impacted by this situation – in the East Bay and across Rhode Island – receives timely, thorough information about the status of the bridge, the plans for its repair and replacement, the timeline involved and the steps being taken to alleviate traffic while work continues,” said Senator Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence). “These reports will not only inform the public but also provide necessary information for lawmakers and government officials to determine how best to provide relief to residents who have experienced such tremendous disruption to their lives and livelihoods, from improving temporary traffic patterns to supporting local businesses.”

This legislation (2024-S 2727A, 2024-H 7759A) requires RIDOT to provide monthly reports on developments related to the Washington Bridge to the General Assembly and the governor’s office. It requires the first report be submitted within 30 days of the legislation being signed into law and that reports continue until the restoration of the bridge. These reports will also be posted publicly on RIDOT’s website.

“Aside from the terrible traffic and the significant damage to local businesses and quality of life, one of the most frustrating aspects of the bridge closure for residents has been the lack of clear and timely information surrounding the status of the Washington Bridge,” said Representative Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence, Pawtucket). “The public deserves transparency and accountability for this crisis that has upended their daily lives and this legislation will help deliver that to the residents of Rhode Island, while also ensuring that the rebuild of this bridge happens as quickly and as safely as possible.”

Each report will contain an updated timeline on the repair and replacement of the bridge, data on traffic patterns, including delays, accidents and vehicle breakdowns, on the bridge, adjustments and anticipated adjustments made to the traffic patterns over the bridge and along alternate routes, the health effects on residents near the Washington Bridge and an overview of the direct effects of the bridge closure on streets and roads in East Providence and Providence.

Each report will also include an overview of costs related to the bridge, including the repair and replacement of the bridge, overtime costs for traffic details, a list of consultants retained by RIDOT, updates related to any pending investigations and audits related to the bridge and answers to all questions submitted by the chairs of the House and Senate oversight committees.

The legislation will also require RIDOT to promptly report unexpected changes to the progress of repairing and replacing the Washington Bridge to the governor, the president of the Senate and the Speaker of the House rather than waiting until the next snapshot report is due.



The Supreme Court is repealing a ban on "bump stocks." The court ruled Friday that the firearm accessory that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire more quickly can't be included in a 1934 law banning machine guns. The decision was 6-3 on ideological lines, striking down a regulation imposed during the Trump administration. Despite the ruling, bump stocks remain illegal in 18 states.       The worst of the severe weather hitting South Florida looks to be over. Governor Ron DeSantis says more rain is on the way, but he believes it will be closer to regular afternoon showers that residents usually experience this time of year. DeSantis had declared a state of emergency earlier in the week as the rains flooded streets and stranded drivers. Damage assessments are still underway. Officials add the good news is no deaths or serious injuries have been reported.       Stocks are closing with the Nasdaq hitting a record high to finish off the week. A decline in consumer sentiment weighed on markets with the University of Michigan's early reading for June coming in below estimates. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 57 points to 38-589. The S&P 500 lost 2 points to 54-31. The Nasdaq rose 21 points to 17-688.       The scene of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school mass shooting is torn down. The demolition of the classroom building where 17 people were killed in the 2018 Florida shooting started this morning. The victims' families were invited to watch the first blows and hammer off a piece themselves if they choose. The building had been preserved to serve as evidence at the shooter's 2022 penalty trial. He is spending life behind bars.       One person is facing charges and two others are at large after allegedly burning American and Israeli flags in New York City. Police arrested Jahki Lodgson-McCray and charged him with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, failure to use a sidewalk and menacing. On Wednesday Lodgson-McGray and two others allegedly set fire to the flags outside the Consulate General of Israel in an act of pro-Palestinian protest.       The U.S. Coast Guard says its investigation into the Titan submersible implosion is taking longer than expected. The submersible imploded and killed all five people aboard as it made its way down to the wreckage site of the Titanic last June. The Coast Guard had said it would release a report on the investigation within a year. The Coast Guard pinned the delay on "the need to contract two salvage missions to secure vital evidence and the extensive forensic testing required."