A breakwater was built in the mid-1960’s to protect the Pawtuxet Cove area near the mouth of the Pawtuxet River in Warwick, Rhode Island. The breakwater, completed in 1965, included an access causeway that was intended to be temporary and only used for the construction of the breakwater. At the request of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, the causeway was left in place to provide recreational opportunities. The causeway remains the responsibility of the State of Rhode Island and the Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM). The RIDEM and the City of Warwick have teamed together to provide for public use of and access to the causeway and the breakwater.


GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. (GZA), along with Narragansett Dock Works of Narragansett, RI, was retained by RIDEM and the City of Warwick to provide engineering design, permitting, and construction services for the restoration of the causeway. The causeway is part of the George B. Salter Memorial Grove. It had fallen into disrepair and had become an obstacle for fisherman and other park users trying to access the breakwater, especially at high tide. A grant had been obtained for the restoration of the causeway, and a time restriction was associated with the grant money.


GZA completed a site visit and performed a topographic survey of the causeway and the immediate area to establish the base plan for the design of repairs. Repair documents for the reconstruction of the causeway and the two water flow channels in the causeway were prepared, as well as the required permit applications for RIDEM, the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Construction was performed by Narragansett Dock Works.


The repairs to the causeway reestablished easy access to the breakwater for recreational users and restored the tidal flow between the two sides of the causeway.