The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding motorists that a temporary ramp to I-195 East from Hoppin Street in the Jewelry District in Providence will be opening during the day on Monday, May 19, 2008. In addition to the ramp opening, Hoppin Street will be converted to a one-way road heading north.
RIDOT is opening this ramp to provide additional access to I-195 East. The Department will be closing the Friendship Street overpass to I-195 East one week later on Tuesday, May 27. Motorists who use the Friendship Street on-ramp to I-195 East can travel on the Southbound Service Road, make a left on Point Street, cross over I-95, and make a left onto Hoppin Street to use the new temporary ramp.
The temporary ramp from Hoppin Street will be open for approximately six months. However, RIDOT expects construction to continue in this area for some time as work will begin on building a new on-ramp to I-95 North from the corner of Point Street and Hoppin Street.
RIDOT intends to permanently replace access to I-195 East from this part of Providence with a new on-ramp from Plain Street to I-195 East expected to open in late 2008.
Earlier this week, RIDOT released a number of dates for Iway-related openings and closures for May. The closing of I-95 North Exit 20 (to the old I-195 East exit) on May 29 is now expected to take place during the first week of June. RIDOT will provide more precise information as the date draws nearer.
The schedule for Iway-related openings and closures is as follows:
Monday, May 19: RIDOT will open a temporary ramp from Hoppin Street (off Point Street) to I-195 East. This temporary ramp will be open for approximately 6 months. RIDOT is opening this ramp to provide additional access to I-195 East when it closes the Friendship Street on-ramp on May 27 (see below).
Thursday, May 22: During the afternoon hours, RIDOT will open a new exit from I-195 East to India Street. This exit will permanently replace Exit 3 to Gano Street and will be the new Exit 2 on the Iway. There will be no Iway Exit 1 as other I-195 East exits are already numbered in order.
Tuesday, May 27: The Friendship Street on-ramp to I-195 East will close permanently. Motorists who traditionally use this on-ramp can travel on the Southbound Service Road, make a left on Point Street, cross over I-95, and make a left onto Hoppin Street to use the new temporary ramp to I-195 East. RIDOT will replace the Friendship Street on-ramp with a new permanent ramp from Plain Street to I-195 East later this year.
First week of June: I-95 North Exit 20 (the old I-195 East exit) will close permanently. Motorists on I-95 North will no longer be able to use it to access Exits 1 (Downtown) and 2 (Wickenden Street) on the old portion of I-195. All motorists on I-95 North from this point forward will need to use the Iway to reach the East Side, East Providence and Massachusetts. This change does not affect motorists traveling on I-95 South who wish to access old I-195 Exits 1 and 2.
RIDOT must take Exit 20 (from I-95 North only) out of service to allow construction crews to begin demolition of the old portions of I-195 and allow for the continuing construction of the Iway.
To reach parts of Providence that had been reachable from Exits 1 and 2, RIDOT offers the following alternative routes for motorists on I-95 North:
• For the College Hill/Fox Point/Lower East Side areas, motorists can take the Iway (Exit 19) and use the new Iway Exit 2. This exit will provide immediate access to Gano Street via India Street.
• For the Jewelry District and the J. Joseph Garrahy Judicial Complex, motorists can take Exit 18 (Thurbers Avenue) and follow Allens Avenue north.
• For the Downtown area, motorists can remain on I-95 North and take Exit 22A (Downtown/Memorial Boulevard) and proceed straight at the end of the ramp onto Memorial Boulevard.
These changes are necessary for RIDOT to continue to open sections of the Iway project, with the overall goal of improving travel in Providence. RIDOT expects all highway traffic to use the Iway in late 2009. The project will be finalized in 2012 with demolition of the old I-195. All schedules are weather-dependent.
Given the many changes happening in the coming days and weeks, RIDOT encourages motorists to plan ahead as much as possible and carefully observe signage regarding changes. RIDOT will continuously provide information to motorists with all information, including maps, on the Department’s web site at www.dot.ri.gov. Additionally, information on changes will be available by calling 511 and listening to the Highway Advisory Radio System on 1630 AM. Motorists may also call RIDOT’s Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007