Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that the receipt of $10 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation's TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant program will allow the Department to accelerate the rehabilitation of the Providence Viaduct and begin work late this year. This 1,290-foot multi-span bridge carries I-95 through the heart of Providence and carries more traffic than any other segment of the Interstate in Rhode Island.
RIDOT intends to replace this bridge in phases to minimize the impact of its estimated $169 million cost by spreading it over several years. The additional funding from the grant will allow RIDOT to begin the first phase a full year earlier than expected. It is the Department's goal to advertise for construction bids later this summer and secure a contractor for the project by the end of the year. It is anticipated that the contractor will do preparatory work over the winter and break ground in Spring 2013.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited Rhode Island in February and got a first-hand look at the condition of the aging Providence Viaduct. Rhode Island's Congressional Delegation supported RIDOT's application for this competitive grant program, which made $500 million available nationally for road, rail, transit and port projects.
"This is great news for Rhode Island and represents national recognition of the challenges we face in adequately funding our roads and bridges," Governor Chafee said. "I've always said a strong infrastructure paves the way for a strong economy. As witnessed first-hand by Secretary LaHood during his recent visit to Rhode Island, keeping this section of I-95 in top condition is vitally important to our future and that of the whole Northeast."
"We are thankful for the efforts of our Congressional delegation in supporting this grant application," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "We also thank the leadership of Governor Chafee, who put Rhode Island in the best position to apply for and ultimately win this grant award."
The Providence Viaduct crosses the Woonasquatucket River, Route 6, Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and other ramps and local roads. It carries an average of 160,000 vehicles per day. While safe for all traffic, the 48-year-old bridge has significant deterioration to its deck and main structural steel components. The bridge's replacement is a top priority before additional funds have to be spent on emergency repairs.
With the additional grant funding in hand, the Department estimates that it can complete the first phase of construction in three years, wrapping up by late 2015. This work will include construction of a new bridge for I-95 southbound and relocation of traffic on I-95 South to the new bridge. This phase also will include construction of a new Atwells Avenue off-ramp (Exit 21) and modifications to the ramp from I-95 South to Route 6 West (Exit 22B).
Through three additional phases, RIDOT will relocate I-95 northbound traffic to the original southbound bridge, replace the existing I-95 North bridge, and demolish the original highway bridges once all traffic has been relocated to new structures. Partial reconstruction of the on-ramps to the northbound structure is also included in the project. All of the work is projected to be completed in 2018.
Additional information on the project and the grant application can be found at: www.providenceviaduct.com.
Those with questions can contact RIDOT's Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional information will be available on RIDOT social media sites on Twitter and Facebook.
Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362, Ext. 4007