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Ashton Viaduct (New Bridge)

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New Bridge
1934, design, Samuel A. Engdahl. 1934, substructure. 1942–1945, superstructure. George Washington Hwy. crossing the Blackstone River and Canal

Paired reinforced concrete arches, in parallel, are fused with vertical supports and the roadway deck to make this span between the precipitous banks of the Blackstone, finished more than a decade after it was designed because of delays in funding. Although it shows vestiges of neoclassical detailing in the railing and in the suggestion of capitals in the spandrel uprights of the arching, as well as some heaviness in the bracketing under the roadbed and the piers, it is nonetheless an impressive example of reinforced concrete engineering for its period. Its designer, Samuel Engdahl, was subsequently chief bridge engineer for the Rhode Island Department of Public Works.

The Cumberland end of the bridge provides a splendid overview downstream of the Ashton Mill and its village. The view upstream shows the dam and remnants of water control machinery which once powered the Ashton Mill, the canal from dam to mill still evident even if filled in. On the opposite (Lincoln) side of the river, traces can still be discerned up-river of a similar canal which once ran from an earlier dam to the long demolished mill (c. 1810–1815) at Old Ashton. Downstream from this end of the bridge is the overpassed original site of Ashton (see under Lincoln), mostly obscured, even in winter, by woods.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Ashton Viaduct (New Bridge)", [Lincoln, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-CU12.

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