RIDOT opens new Route 403 to highway traffic Motorists can expect construction zones until the end of 2008 Governor Donald L. Carcieri joined the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today in a ceremony on the North Kingstown/East Greenwich line to preview the new Route 403 Relocation Project. During the overnight hours tonight, the Department expects to open the new road to highway traffic. This will begin with a temporary closure of a portion of Route 4 South, followed by the opening of Exit 7B to the new Route 403 in time for the morning commute.
Although more construction remains on the highway and associated ramps, the event marked the realization of the vision of linking Route 4 to the Quonset Business Park with a dedicated limited access highway. The 3,000-acre Business Park is the largest of its kind in Rhode Island and is undergoing a fast paced and successful transformation from a military installation to a first class business park with multiple platforms for new and expanding businesses and high wage job growth. The Quonset Business Park is home to 168 companies employing 8,574 individuals. The mix includes office and R&D, light and general manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, marine construction, and importing.
“This project to create a limited access highway serving the Business Park demonstrates Rhode Island’s commitment to becoming a better place to do business,” Governor Carcieri said. “It is also a reminder that highways are expensive to build and maintain. I urge Rhode Island voters to approve Question #1 on the November ballot, for transportation funding. Not only will those funds support bridge and highway work in our state, but they will pay for repairs and new buses for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority and assist the development of commuter rail service.”
The $130 million project began in 2000, and included construction of a new interchange at Post Road as well as a new highway interchange at Route 4. The opening of the new Route 403 will ease congestion on local roads in North Kingstown while providing the Quonset Business Park the amenity of quick and direct highway access to Route 4, which leads to I-95 and points south.
The new highway complements the Park’s other transportation infrastructure including port facilities, an airport and a freight rail line, which RIDOT augmented with the 2006 completion of the $225 million Freight Rail Improvement Project (FRIP).
“The new Route 403 and the FRIP project afford the Quonset Business Park with transportation solutions that not only will help the Park’s business to flourish, but help alleviate traffic on local roads and potentially limit truck traffic on Rhode Island highways through greater use of rail,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said.
With the opening of the new Route 403 to highway traffic, motorists should be advised that ongoing construction will be taking place on the new road. This includes a construction zone where two main segments of the highway meet near School Street in North Kingstown. Motorists may experience delays at this location, especially during peak commuting times for Quonset businesses.
At the same time RIDOT opens the new Route 403 at Exit 7B, it will close the original off-ramp for Route 403 and Davisville Road at Exit 7A. This ramp and bridge structure will be demolished as part of the project. The alignment of the new Route 403 means that motorists heading west on the new highway will no longer have direct access to Frenchtown Road. Motorists leaving the Quonset Business Park need to exit at Post Road and use Route 1 North or the old Route 403 to reach Frenchtown Road.
Also tomorrow, RIDOT will open a new access road to two-way traffic from Davisville Road to Frenchtown Road. Later this year RIDOT expects to further enhance access to this part of North Kingstown and East Greenwich with the opening of a new off-ramp from Route 4 South to Frenchtown Road. Currently motorists seeking access from Route 4 to Frenchtown Road are directed to use Exit 6 (Route 2/South County Trail) as a temporary detour.
In the near future RIDOT expects to open two other ramps in conjunction with the Route 403 Relocation Project, both of which represent movements that were not part of the configuration of the original Route 403. These include a ramp from Route 4 North to Route 403 East and from Route 403 West to Route 4 South. These will provide motorists coming from or driving to points south the option of using an all-highway route to and from Quonset as opposed to Route 1 through Wickford – further lessoning traffic on secondary roads.
All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. For more information on the Route 403 project and road openings and closings, visit RIDOT’s website at www.dot.ri.gov. Motorists also may direct their questions to the Department’s Customer Service office at 222-2450.
Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007