The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding motorists that a new traffic pattern with two lane splits will be put into place this week on I-95 Southbound in the City of Providence and with these changes will come added congestion. Effective, Wednesday, October 7, 2009 for the next five to six weeks, motorists will face some major challenges when traveling this stretch of the Interstate. All changes are weather permitting.
“We are anticipating increased congestion on I-95 Southbound in the City of Providence for the next two weeks because we are going to have one less lane of travel on the Interstate through this area,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “It will be similar to conditions during a breakdown or a crash when traffic could be backed up significantly with frustrating delays for drivers. Travel times from the Massachusetts state line to Exit 20 could increase by about 20 minutes during both the morning and evening commuting times.”
To continue building the Iway, RIDOT must move the location of I-95 South’s Exit 20 for I-195. The exit will be moved about a half-mile to the north, meaning that motorists will encounter the exit sooner. Drivers should be in the appropriate lanes as they approach Exit 20. Those heading onto I-95 South from Route 6 or the highway ramp adjacent to Providence Place Mall will have less time to move left to stay on I-95. Exit 20 will move back to its current location in approximately five to six weeks.
“Our message to motorists is simple: if you don’t have to travel through Providence on I-95 Southbound, don’t. Please seek alternate routes,” added Lewis.
At the new exit location, after Exit 21, RIDOT will implement the first of two lane splits. This will cause the temporary loss of one travel lane for approximately two weeks. Construction will be fast-tracked with 24-hour work days in order to restore this lane as quickly as possible.
Motorists wishing to continue on I-95 South will need to stay left of the first split. Motorists wishing to take Exit 20 for I-195 East will need to stay to the right of the split. Traffic bound for the hospitals complex must stay left, as they do today, to continue on I-95 South.
The second split will be located before the Point Street Overpass with one lane to the left of the split and two lanes to the right. All lanes continue on I-95 South, but motorists seeking access to the hospitals complex at Exit 19 (Dudley Street) will need to stay right. This second split should be over before the end of the year.
If you miss your exit, please do not stop on the highway or back up. Drivers who are on I-95 South and want to take the Iway but miss the exit should continue on I-95 to Exit 18 (Thurbers Avenue) to take local streets to I-95 North to Exit 19 (the Iway).
Drivers on I-95 Southbound that find themselves on the exit ramp to I-195 Eastbound (Exit 20) should get off at Exit 5 (Warren Avenue). Drivers should then turn left to access the on-ramp to I-195 West. Once on I-195, stay left for I-95 South.
Drivers on I-95 South who miss the exit for the hospitals (Exit 19) should take Exit 18 (Thurbers Avenue), make a right onto Thurbers Avenue and then a right onto Eddy Street. Alternate routes are available on RIDOT’s website at www.dot.ri.gov.
RIDOT opened the first segment of the Iway, I-95 North to I-195 East, in November 2007. The next segment, I-95 South to I-195 East, opened in December 2008. I-195 West to I-95 South opened in June 2009. I-195 West to I-95 North is scheduled to open by the end of this month. Additional on- and off-ramps are scheduled to open this year and next. RIDOT expects demolition of old I-195 to begin in 2010 with the entire Iway project wrapping up in 2012.
Additional information on these changes is also available by calling 511 or listening to the Highway Advisory Radio system on 1630 AM. Updates are available on Facebook, Blogger, MySpace or Twitter. The latter of these features real-time information on highway incidents from RIDOT’s Transportation Management Center. Additionally, motorists can contact RIDOT’s Customer Service Department at 401-222-2450 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Contact: Heidi Cote 401-222-1362 x4009