Governor Donald Carcieri and Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Michael P. Lewis were joined this morning by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Victor Mendez and Providence Mayor David Cicilline to celebrate this week’s opening of the last major segment of the Iway: I-195 West to I-95 North.
“This is a monumental achievement for the State of Rhode Island,” said Carcieri. “The primary goal of this project was to improve the safety and operation of this highway. With the pending opening of this last leg of the Iway, Rhode Islanders will soon enjoy the benefits of meeting that goal.”
“We made a promise to the Governor and every Rhode Islander that we would deliver this new highway,” said Lewis. “With this week’s Iway opening, we are keeping that promise.”
Without the continued support of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for this project and the State’s transportation program in general, the Iway could not have been built. To further this support, FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez visited Rhode Island for the event.
“The Iway’s congestion relief not only means improved safety and convenience for drivers,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “It also means a better business climate for the city, which is an economic benefit of which we can all be proud.”
Tomorrow morning, RIDOT plans to open the ramp from I-95 North to Point Street. Commuters traveling on this ramp will have direct access to Point Street, the Jewelry District, the Davol Square area, the hospitals complex, and the west side of Providence.
On Thursday, October 22, RIDOT plans to open the fourth and final major segment of the Iway: I-195 West to I-95 North, which includes an off-ramp to Point Street. The contractor has to complete some final striping, minor connective paving and overhead signing and this work cannot be done during rain events. If the weather cooperates, however, RIDOT could open this ramp a day earlier on Wednesday, October 21.
“The opening of the last major segment of the Iway is an important milestone for the capital city,” said Mayor David N. Cicilline. “It’s a giant step towards growing the “knowledge district” as a jobs center and expanding our tax base.”
Additionally, once the I-195 West to I-95 North movement is open, motorists traveling on Gano Street and taking the I-195 West on-ramp will have access to both I-95 North and I-95 South. The Wickenden Street and Dyer Street on-ramps to I-195 West will be closed. Motorists who used to travel this area will need to take alternate routes to access I-95 North and I-95 South. The ramp from I-195 West to South Main Street will remain open.
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. Additional on- and off-ramps will continue 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.
More information and maps on these changes is available at www.dot.ri.gov, by calling 511, or by listening to the Highway Advisory Radio system on 1630 AM. Updates are also 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 at (401) 222-1362 x. 4009