The Rhode Island Senate has passed legislation, Senate Bill No. 2255, to rename State Bridge No. 1181 — known as the Providence River Bridge — as the William D. Warner Memorial Bridge.
Perhaps, in the waning days of this session of the General Assembly, the House will pass its own version of the bill. Legislators often talk about “due diligence” required for major legislation. Naming the Providence River Bridge for the late Bill Warner, who died in August 2012, is the due diligence required by history.
Who was Bill Warner? He designed Waterplace Park and the river walks from Waterplace to Confluence Park, where the Woonasquatucket River joins the Moshassuck River to form the Providence River, and beyond to Memorial Park. He designed the dozen arched vehicular and pedestrian bridges along the way, and the parks and the river walks that extend the waterfront toward Narragansett Bay.
And Bill Warner designed the Route 195 Providence River Bridge itself. That does not entitle him to have it named for him. Most bridges are not named for their designer.
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