Huge Generator: RIDOT Recommended The Engineering Firm That Missed Five Bridges


You may have seen the huge, yellow tarp-covered generator that has been parked on the side of Route 95 north just past Route 4. It’s been the cause of lots of rubber-necking. Then came the news a couple of days ago that it had been pulled over by RIDOT while traveling and ordered not to advance because it is very heavy – 560,000 pounds.

John Tassoni, speaking for the company that is moving the generator, was on the WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti this morning. And he shared some eye-opening information about how the generator came to be side-lined.

He started by expressing regret on behalf of Bay Crane for causing a commotion. However, he went on to explain that the engineering firm charged with mapping the route that the very heavy generator was to take from Quonset to its destination in Massachusetts gave the green light prematurely for the generator to move; i.e., before the state permits were actually in hand.

Far worse, he went on to state that the engineering firm MISSED FIVE BRIDGES (presumably overpasses, the excuse for the governor’s toll program) when they were planning the route of the generator. This is a major mistake: obviously, the route chosen for this very heavy piece of equipment has to be carefully chosen, as the Director of RIDOT, Peter Alviti, himself explained.

“While this truck with its load were traveling over, say, a structurally deficient bridge, it caused a critical failure of the bridge structure,” Alviti explained, “and it and any other motorists that were on the bridge at the same time would have suffered the consequences of that.”

And the crowning revelation in the course of this conversation on WPRO: RIDOT had recommended which engineering firm to use for the truck’s route – an firm that ended up making a very serious, potentially catastrophic, error in their route survey.

Some questions: 1.) is there an unspoken mandate when RIDOT “recommends” a firm in a situation like this? 2.) How did RIDOT end up recommending a firm that seriously botched this important routing survey? 3.) Is this an inadvertent and alarming view into RIDOT’s (in)competency in choosing vendors for state projects? 3.) Minimally in this case, doesn’t RIDOT share responsibility that the move of this generator got so badly mucked up?