Despite windy, rainy weather, City Council President Donna Travis could not contain her happiness and excitement during Friday afternoon’s ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly restored Danger Bridge in Oakland Beach.
“It’s like a baby being born,” said Travis with a laugh before the ribbon cutting.
Travis moved to Oakland beach 57 years ago when she was just a kid, and lived in a blue house directly across from Danger Bridge. She remembered playing on, and underneath, the bridge while she was growing up.
The bridge had fallen into serious disrepair and over the past five years, it became Travis’ goal to see it restored; something she shared with Mayor Scott Avedisian and Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Dave Picozzi every chance she got.
“I’m just glad I can go to a JONAH Center meeting again,” said Picozzi, joking that he would no longer have to hear Travis tell him about Danger Bridge.
Travis also recalled having to prove to people that the bridge was named “Danger Bridge,” armed with old postcards featuring the bridge. She said she even had to show them to Avedisian as proof.
“This project has been a long time coming,” said Avedisian, also visually pleased with how the project turned out.
During the ceremony, Avedisian and Travis both shared a brief history of the bridge, which is now featured on signs on both sides of the bridge.
The area near Danger Bridge, which is located on Sea View Drive in Oakland Beach, was privately owned and known as Horse Neck; it was part of the original “Four Mile Purchase.”
The bridge, which was constructed in 1885, served as a link between Horse Neck and the rest of Oakland Beach. Because it was very narrow and poorly lit, warning signs reading “Danger Bridge” were installed. The name stuck.
“It’s great to finally have it open,” said Travis.
The two points acknowledged by Avedisian, Travis and Picozzi were that the project was completed by DPW workers and under budget.
“We actually reconstructed everything using our wonderful Department of Public Works employees,” said Avedisian, adding that this project proves that the city of Warwick can complete important community projects “cheaper, better, on time and under budget.”
Avedisian and Picozzi said they had received a number of estimates from contractors to complete the work, some estimating it would cost the city $500,000.
DPW was able to complete the project for $100,000, covered by community block development grants and the DPW. Workers at the DPW also handled all of the labor for the project, cutting down the cost.
“The heroes of the city of Warwick, the Department of Public Works; there’s nothing they can’t do,” said Travis. “These people put their hearts into this and I couldn’t thank you more.”
Picozzi also had to give his guys their due.
“I’m very proud of my guys,” said Picozzi, referring to the reconstructed bridge as “one of the best jobs we’ve done in the city.”
The bridge, which is newly tarred with cement sidewalks and black railing, is also officially named Danger Bridge. A plaque was installed in one of the sidewalks featuring the City of Warwick seal and the words “Danger Bridge 2013.”
While there may not be any danger, Danger Bridge is here to stay.