Shortly after I moved to Providence in 1996 I began walking downtown to work every day. Each day I would walk along Canal st and the Moshassuck River. I would pass the broken wooden bridge across the Moshassuck River between the Roger Williams Historic National Park and the railroad tracks. It was in walking by this bridge that I figured out the Moshassuck River needed some friends. I therefore started Friends of the Moshassuck.
When I walked by early in the morning on Monday December 29 some heavy equipment was assembling at the bridge. By Tuesday morning half the bridge was gone and the rest was being chomped at by the equipment. This afternoon, Tuesday December 30, 2014 when I walked home, the bridge was completely gone.
The bridge was an eyesore and dangerous. It was an eyesore and dangerous when I first moved to Providence 18 years ago. Some time in the last 10 years ago it half fell into the river taking part of the sidewalk along Canal St, but still it stood. But now it is gone.
While the bridge needed to be torn down and removed, I will miss it. It was a magnet for wildlife. Nearly every year a Great Blue Heron would hang out under it in September. Large fish would be channeled around the accumulations of debris, making them easy to see. Night herons hung out there occasionally, and in recent years I have seen turtles sunning on the debris piles. An oasis of life downtown, literally right below the Statehouse.
I suspect that the removal will change the flow of the river in a minor way, and I look forward to watching the new system establish itself. I suspect the wildlife will be no more than minorly inconvenienced, though no longer viewed as easily.
What may be most influenced by the new configuration in the tidal zone is the menhaden, so I look forward to the late summer/early fall menhaden run in 2015 to see how that changes their behavior. And I suspect that removal of the bridge may make it easier to reestablish a herring run when other obstacles in the river are removed in years to come.
But I will still miss that woooden bridge.