The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today is opening a new off-ramp on the I-195 Relocation Project, also known as the Iway. The ramp (Exit 2) is accessible only for those traveling on I-95 North to the Iway and provides direct access to India Point Park. It replaces the Gano Street off-ramp (Exit 3), but provides easy access to Gano Street via India Street.
Motorists who drive on I-95 South to I-195 East, or motorists who drive on I-95 North who take the exit to the old I-195 (Exit 20), will not be able to access this new ramp.
The new Iway Exit 2 is located several hundred feet before the ramp it replaces. As such, motorists wishing to take Exit 2 must get in the right-hand travel lane earlier than usual. The deceleration lane for Iway Exit 2 begins immediately after the arch portion of the new Providence River Bridge.
There will be no Iway Exit 1. Other I-195 East exits are already numbered in order from East Providence to the Massachusetts line.
“In connecting the Iway to existing streets and highways, it is necessary to close ramps and exits that motorists may have been using for a long time,” RIDOT Director Michael Lewis said. “We ask that motorists be patient during these changes in traffic patterns and to drive carefully.”
In early June, RIDOT plans on closing the ramp from I-95 North to the old I-195 East (Exit 20). Until that occurs, there will be two off-ramps designated as Exit 2, the new one opening this afternoon and Exit 2 off the old I-195 which leads to Wickenden Street.
These changes do not affect motorists traveling on I-95 South who wish to access old I-195 East Exits 1 and 2. However those exits will be permanently closed to all traffic by the end of the year when RIDOT shifts all I-195 East traffic to the Iway.
Director Lewis and RIDOT Deputy Chief Engineer Frank Corrao met with the media on the Iway this morning and discussed the opening of Iway Exit 2 and many other changes taking place in the next few weeks. These include a temporary on-ramp from Hoppin Street to I-195 East which RIDOT opened on Monday, May 19 and the following upcoming changes (which are weather-dependent):
Tuesday, May 27: The Friendship Street on-ramp to I-195 East will close permanently. Motorists who traditionally use this on-ramp can use Point Street to cross over I-95 and make a left onto Hoppin Street to use the new temporary ramp to I-195 East.
Early June: I-95 North Exit 20 (the old I-195 East exit) will close permanently. This change will take place during the early morning hours. 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.
Also in Early June: The Pine Street overpass over I-95 will close permanently. Motorists can use either the Broad Street or Point Street overpasses for cross-city travel.
These changes are necessary for RIDOT to continue to open sections of the Iway project. RIDOT expects all highway traffic to use the Iway in late 2009. The entire project will be finalized in 2012 with demolition of the old I-195.
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 update all information, including maps, on its 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