The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it will close I-95 in Providence during the overnight hours on various nights over the next three weeks. The first closures are scheduled to take place next week on Wednesday, January 21 and Thursday, January 22, 2009. RIDOT must close the highway to allow for the safe demolition of the former Pine Street and Friendship Street overpasses.
This work is part of the Iway project. The overpasses are being demolished to allow RIDOT to continue construction of the new highway interchange for I-95 and I-195.
The closures will last from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night, and the schedule is subject to change and additional nights may be added. All work is weather dependent. The closure area is between Exit 21 (Atwells Avenue/Broadway) and Exit 19 (Eddy Street) and detours have been established (please see next page). RIDOT strongly advises motorists traveling through Providence during the overnight hours to use either I-295 or Route 10 to bypass the closure area.
RIDOT has conducted numerous overnight lane closures in the past few weeks for demolition of the Pine Street overpass deck. RIDOT must now begin removal of the bridge’s steel beams, which requires full highway closures. While the highway is closed, RIDOT will also work to demolish the Friendship Street overpass.
On nights when full closures are not scheduled, motorists may encounter lane closures. Each night next week motorists can expect to see one lane closed by 8 p.m. with additional lanes closing prior to the 11 p.m. full closure time. On nights when full closures are not needed but lane closures are needed, RIDOT will maintain at least one open lane.
“The Department has made a great effort to avoid impacting traffic during construction of the Iway,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “This work, however, requires the full closure of I-95 for the safe and expedient removal of the old overpasses.”
The overnight closure schedule and suggested detours for next week include:
Sunday-Tuesday, January 18-20 • Lane closures only, I-95 North and South and I-195 West to I-95 North ramp. At least one lane will remain open at all times.
Wednesday & Thursday, January 21-22 • I-95 South closed from Exit 21 to Exit 19, including access to I-195 East. • Route 10 North to I-95 South will be closed. • I-95 North lane closures possible. • Through traffic should use I-295 or Route 10. • Traffic bound for I-195 East should use highway detour (Route 10 South to I-95 North and access I-195 East at Exit 19) or city detour (follow Service Road No. 7 to the Plain Street on-ramp to reach I-195 East). • Motorists traveling on Route 10 north wishing to access the Downtown, Downcity and Jewelry District areas should follow signs for Downtown and use Memorial Boulevard. • Hospital traffic: • Hospital traffic and others who did not exit onto Route 10 must use Exit 21 (Atwells Avenue) and follow Service Road No. 7 to Plain Street and the hospitals complex. • Hospital traffic on Route 10 North should exit at Dean Street/Atwells Avenue and follow Atwells Avenue to Service Road No. 7 to Plain Street and the hospitals complex. • Hospital traffic on I-195 West to I-95 South will not be affected.
Additional overnight closures and lane restrictions are being scheduled for the week of January 25 and February 1. These will affect I-95 North and South as well as the I-195 West to I-95 North connection. The Department will announce specific schedule information and suggested detours in the near future, as well as issue any updates as warranted.
RIDOT will be using signage and electronic message boards to alert motorists of the closure and detour routes. Up-to-date traveler information will be available on the Department’s website, www.dot.ri.gov. Maps of the detours also will be available on the website later today. Information will also be accessible by dialing 511 (1-888-401-4511 for out of state callers), listening to 1630 AM on RIDOT’s Highway Advisory Radio, or by calling RIDOT’s Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.