The Crook Point Bascule Bridge is one of Rhode Island’s most popular abandoned locations. The bridge is a decommissioned Scherzer rolling lift railway bridge that spans the Seekonk River and connected Providence and East Providence. The bridge has a total length of 913 feet and a clear canal of 90 feet when opened to a 64-degree angle. The bridge, often known to locals as the “Always Up Bridge” or “Stuck-Up bridge” has become somewhat of a local icon of urban decay. The bridge is seen by thousands each day as it sits just north of Washington Bridge which has a major highway on it.
The bridge was built in 1908 as part of the East Side Railroad Tunnel project to connect the two cities. Union Station in Providence was used until the 1970s, when railroad usage dropped and preparations were made to remove the station. In 1976, the East Side Railroad Tunnel and the Seekonk River Drawbridge were decommissioned, with the bridge remaining in its open position to facilitate river traffic. In 1981, the Crook Point Bascule Bridge was purchased by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT).
Since its abandonment, it has become a popular spot for photographers, artists, graffiti taggers, vandals, architects, and more. A paved cycling route off of an athletic field near the intersection of Gano and Williams streets leads to the bridge’s western entrance. Some of the track’s wooden components have rotted or burned away, and many electrical lines have been severed, but the metal framework, albeit rusty, remains essentially intact.
The future of the bridge is frequently discussed. A proposal was filed in 2003 to convert the bridge and tunnel into a light rail system that would transport people between the two cities. This idea was not pursued. An advisory group led by Mayor David Cicilline examined the bridge in 2006. The organization looked into using the bridge for a light rail or bus rapid transit system but decided against it. The RIDOT announced in 2018 that the bridge would be demolished in 2026-2027. However, in 2019, the city of Providence proposed to take over ownership of the bridge in order to keep it from being demolished. The city-sponsored a design competition for the bridge’s reuse; the winning idea, which was unveiled in June 2021, proposed to repurpose the bridge and surroundings into a public park. Learn more about the winning plan HERE.
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- Year Established: 1908
- Year Abandoned: 1976
- Original Function: Steel railway drawbridge used to connect Providence’s Fox Point neighborhood to the City of East Providence.