The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is scheduled to making some interim changes to traffic patterns on Wickenden Street in Providence beginning tomorrow, Friday, March 25, 2010. The changes were initially scheduled to occur yesterday, but were postponed due to rainy weather adversely impacting preparation work this week.
The changes are required as part of the Iway project, and involve the use of new signals and the elimination of a jughandle, an auxiliary road used for making left turns and U-turns. RIDOT expects the transition to take place during the day tomorrow and be in place for the afternoon commute.
The work involves the installation of a new traffic signal at the corner of Wickenden Street and South Main Street. This is about 100 feet west of the current signal at Wickenden Street and Benefit Street. The new signal will be in addition to the existing signal and the two signals will work in conjunction to allow safe and efficient traffic flow and turns.
Along with the new signals, a major element of the new traffic pattern is the elimination of a jughandle currently used to reach South Main Street or Benefit Street from Wickenden Street eastbound (left turns are presently restricted at the intersection). The jughandle also was used to access the former Wickenden Street on-ramp to I-195 West, but since the closure of the ramp and old highway in 2009, traffic on the jughandle has been significantly reduced.
The new signals will permit motorists heading east on Wickenden Street to make left turns at these intersections. There will be a dedicated lane and left turn signal at South Main Street. Motorists seeking to turn left onto Benefit Street should use the center lane and will be able to turn left after yielding to through traffic while westbound traffic on Wickenden has a green light. After a brief period of time, a left green arrow will be shown allowing drivers to take a left turn, while westbound traffic on Wickenden Street has a red light.
The following list highlights the changes:
Wickenden Street Eastbound
• Left lane is dedicated for turns onto South Main Street only. • Center lane allows through traffic and left turns onto Benefit Street. • Right lane allows through traffic only.
Wickenden Street Westbound
• Existing signal at Benefit Street remains. • New signal at South Main Street. • No other changes; right turns still permitted onto Benefit Street and South Main Street.
The new pattern will remain for approximately two years, when final restoration of Wickenden Street is scheduled for completion as one of the last phases of the Iway project. The changes being implemented tomorrow are necessary in order for RIDOT to move forward with relocating the ramp from Exit 2 on I-195 West. The Department expects that change, which will bring additional traffic to the area, to take place in about two months and will be announced well in advance.
Motorists with questions can contact RIDOT’s Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additional information will be available on RIDOT’s website (www.dot.ri.gov) and its social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Blogger.