The Crook Point Bascule Bridge is a rolling lift (or Scherzer, patented in 1893) railroad drawbridge connecting the East Side of Providence to East Providence across the Seekonk River. It was built in 1908 to carry the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad line.
Word of the bridge’s demise was illuminated in the release last year of the state’s 10-year transportation plan, which scheduled demolition for 2026-27. RIDOT cited safety and liability as reasons, and earmarked $6 million for the removal. Mayor Jorge Elorza spoke out in favor of the bridge’s preservation last July when the plan was revealed, and the City has since convened advocates to explore viable re-use options.
Loss of the bridge would unlink us from Providence’s rail history as well as the East Side Tunnel. Listing the Crook Point bridge on the Most Endangered List urges us to contemplate the future plan for demolition, but also prompts the question, what should we do with industrial engineering sites and artifacts especially when they conflict with nature? Can they exist in tandem? Can this bridge be preserved as an artistic and/or recreational landmark? PPS urges the City and State to give thoughtful consideration to all options.
In 2020, the City of Providence solicited design ideas for a transformation of this Most Endangered Property. Of the over 80 proposals submitted, local designers Horsley Whitten Group and Jonathan Harris were chosen as the competition winners! Check out the proposal, which features extensive community greenspace, and replaces the railroad ties with light-bars that will display a variety of art installations.