The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will hold a media availability on Friday, September 25, 2009 at 10:45 a.m. on the Point Street Overpass in Providence. RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis will be on hand to answer questions and do interviews on the changes that will be taking place on I-95 North next week.
This briefing is being held so that motorists can be alerted to the new traffic pattern that will be in place starting on Monday, September 28. This change is being made as part of the Iway project and is expected to cause traffic congestion.
Currently vehicles traveling on I-95 North between I-195 East, Exit 19 and Broadway, Exit 21 are shifted to the right allowing construction to take place between I-95 North and South. Beginning Sunday night, September 27 crews will reconfigure these lanes so that the next portion of the new I-95 North roadway can be built.
To allow this to happen the three lanes will be shifted to the left onto the new section of highway, prior to the Point Street Overpass, and then split. Drivers who want to take Broadway, Exit 21 must be in the right lane before the split. The two left lanes will be separate from the right lane and will not rejoin the main flow of traffic until after Exit 21. All three lanes will continue on I-95 North. Construction will take place between the right lane and the two left lanes which will be separated by barrels and Jersey barrier.
“Drivers need to plan ahead and be in the right lane to access Exit 21,” said Michael P. Lewis, RIDOT’s Director. “All three lanes let you continue on I-95, but only the right lane will let you take the Broadway exit.”
This phase of the Iway project builds a new roadway in the same footprint of the current roadway alignment. Because traffic must continue to use the road while construction is taking place available work space is limited. Traffic delays will occur. It is expected that building this portion of this highway will last approximately 5 – 7 weeks, weather permitting.
Another challenge is that traffic from I-195 West will be merging into this portion of I-95 North. The merge drivers experience here today will also affect the new split traffic pattern.
Drivers who miss the Broadway exit should get off the highway at the next exit, Exit 22A, Downtown to Memorial Boulevard, in order to get to their destination. Stopping or reversing on the Interstate is dangerous and is prohibited.
Fixed and variable electronic signage will be used to alert drivers of the changes as they approach the construction zone.
“Congestion is expected in this part of the construction zone,” said Lewis. “Drivers will most likely encounter slower speeds, and we apologize for the inconvenience, but this is a necessary step in the project.”
Drivers are strongly encouraged to take alternate routes and build more time into their travel plans. Motorists can take I-295, Route 10, as well as the local streets to avoid being in the construction area.
Maps and additional information is available on the RIDOT website, www.dot.ri.gov. Drivers with questions can contact RIDOT’s Customer Service office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 401-222-2450.
This change is the first of several motorists will experience before the end of the year. Traffic patterns changes on I-95 South are expected to take place in October. A new ramp from I-95 North to Point Street (new Exit 20) will open in about a month.
The new ramp from I-195 West to I-95 North is expected to open in early November. This final opening phase of the Iway will put all traffic on the new highway and permanently close the old I-195 facility.
Contact: Dana Alexander NOlfe 401-222-1362 x4450