The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding motorists that it will permanently close Exit 20 from I-95 North tomorrow, Wednesday, June 4, 2008 (weather permitting). Motorists traveling on I-95 North tonight can expect to encounter lane restrictions beginning at 8 p.m. The actual closure of Exit 20 is expected to take place during the early morning hours on June 4 and be in effect prior to tomorrow’s morning commute.
Motorists who had used Exit 20 to reach “old I-195” to access parts of downtown via I-195’s Exits 1 and 2 will need to seek alternate routes. RIDOT has several suggested detour routes posted on its Web site at www.dot.ri.gov. The maps are color-coded to different areas of Providence motorists may be trying to reach.
All traffic on I-95 North wishing to access I-195 East will now have to use the Iway (Exit 19). On May 22, RIDOT opened the new Iway Exit 2, replacing Exit 3, to provide better access to the East Side of Providence and the Wickenden Street area. The ramp now provides access to Gano Street via India Street. Later this summer, Iway Exit 2 will open to provide access to South Water Street, which leads to Wickenden Street.
To reach parts of Providence that had been reachable from old I-195 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.
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. 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.
This change does not affect motorists traveling on I-95 South who take Exit 20 for I-195 East and the old highway’s Exits 1 and 2. However, by the end of 2008, RIDOT expects all traffic on I-195 East to be using the Iway.
In the near future, RIDOT expects to permanently close the Pine Street overpass over I-95 on Friday, June 6, 2008. Motorists can use either the Broad Street or Point Street overpasses to cross over I-95.
RIDOT expects the Pine Street closure to be the last in this current phase of Iway-related changes. In late summer the Department expects to announce the opening of additional roads in the India Point Park area, as well as the India Point Pedestrian Bridge. In the late fall, RIDOT expects to open the new Exit 20 for I-95 South to the Iway, open a new on-ramp from Plain Street to I-195 East. (to replace the closed Friendship Street on-ramp), and close the Broad Street on-ramp to I-95 South.
Given the many changes associated with the Iway, 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