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Traffic Advisory: Accelerated Bridge Construction Continues this Weekend for Replacement of the Pawtucket Avenue Bridge in East Providence

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is moving ahead swiftly with the replacement of the Pawtucket Avenue Bridge over I-195 in East Providence with the project running ahead of schedule. Amended plans developed by the Department's project management team will more than cut in half the total number of proposed weekend bridge closures and associated highway lane shifts.

The next step of the project begins on Friday, May 19 at 7 p.m. with the closure of the bridge to all traffic. This will allow RIDOT to demolish the remaining portions of the old bridge. Originally the Department set aside two weekends for this work, but through close coordination with its contractor, they were compressed into one single weekend of work.

"This is another sign of the new way of doing business at RIDOT," Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. "Instead of sitting back and just following the predetermined schedule, our project managers have worked diligently to reduce the overall impact to the motoring public and get the bridge done as quickly as possible."

The Department already is employing accelerated bridge construction methods to replace the structure in just four months. Using traditional construction methods, it would have taken two years to complete the work.

Further compressing the schedule, RIDOT was able to quickly install beams for the new bridge during overnight hours with brief highway closures as opposed to full weekend closures. Combined, the amended plan for the bridge work proposed by the project management team has reduced the overall number of weekend closures from eight to just three.

At the conclusion of the next weekend closure on Monday, May 22, traffic on the bridge will be shifted to the new half of the bridge, which RIDOT built over the last several weeks. This represents the halfway point of the project, approximately two weeks ahead of schedule. The Department will work to further reduce the duration of the work, originally set to wrap up in August.

Another significant change is a full closure of the East Shore Expressway northbound to I-195 West. This will alleviate long delays for drivers on both the Expressway and I-195 West during weekend closures. A signed detour has been established using Wampanoag Trail, Pawtucket Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway to reach I-195 West. This only will be in effect for weekend closures.

Bridge, Ramp and Lane Closure Specifics

Lane restrictions for both the bridge and I-195 will be in place throughout the duration of the project. The most disruptive restrictions take place during the weekend closures.

RIDOT strongly recommends motorists plan ahead, provide extra travel time and consider alternate routes. Maps of recommended detour routes, including turn-by-turn directions, are posted on RIDOT's website at www.ridot.net/PawtucketAveBridge.

Below is specific closure information for the bridge, I-195 and nearby highway on- and off-ramps:

Pawtucket Avenue Bridge

Weekend Closures: The bridge will be closed to all traffic. The closure details are as follows:

  • Bridge closed from 7 p.m. Friday, May 19 through 6 a.m. Monday, May 22.
  • Traffic on Pawtucket Avenue will be directed to follow a signed detour using Grosvenor Avenue, Broadway and Warren Avenue.
  • The I-195 West on-ramp, located just north of the bridge, will be closed.
  • Pedestrian access may be limited, but flaggers will be present to aid anyone needing to walk across the bridge.

Duration of Project: As of Monday, May 22, RIDOT will shift two-way traffic on the bridge to the newly constructed western side as we work to rebuild the eastern side. The closure details are as follows:

  • A continued reduction in the number of travel lanes from four to two.
  • Left turns from Pawtucket Avenue northbound to I-195 West on-ramp, located just north of the bridge, are not permitted (follow signed detour using Warren Avenue).
  • Two-way traffic maintained during peak travel periods; overnight lane closures and detours are possible.

I-195 East and West

Weekend Closures: Lane closures and lane shifts will be needed. The closure details are as follows:

  • I-195 reduced from three travel lanes to two in each direction from 7 p.m. Friday, May 19 through 6 a.m. Monday, May 22.
  • Auxiliary lanes in both directions for on- and off-ramp traffic will be closed.
  • On Friday night and Saturday, all traffic will shift onto I-195 westbound travel lanes to allow for safe demolition of the bridge over eastbound lanes.
  • On Saturday night and Sunday, all traffic will shift onto I-195 eastbound travel lanes to allow for safe demolition of the bridge over westbound lanes.

Duration of Project: Lane closures and lane shifts will be needed. The closure details are as follows:

  • On I-195 East, between Exit 6 (Broadway) and the Massachusetts state line, motorists need to use the far right lane to access Exit 7 (Rte. 114). The two left lanes are for I-195 East through traffic only. The right lane also can be used for access to Exit 8 (Warren Ave.) or to continue on I-195 East into Massachusetts.

I-195 Ramps

Weekend Closures: Merging distances will be reduced for traffic exiting and entering the highway just east of the bridge. The closure details are as follows:

  • The East Shore Expressway to I-195 West will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. on Monday, May 22. Follow signed detour using Wampanoag Trail, Pawtucket Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway to reach I-195 West.
  • The Warren Avenue on-ramp to I-195 West, located approximately mile west of the intersection with Highland Avenue (close to Rumford Pet Center) will be closed overnight Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following day. Traffic will follow Warren Avenue westbound toward two other on-ramps to I-195 West (via Broadway or after Potter Street).
  • The exit for East Shore Expressway from I-195 East (Exit 7), located immediately after the work zone, will remain open for vehicles in the right travel lane.

Duration of Project: Lane closures and lane shifts will be needed. The closure details are as follows:

  • The far right lane for the East Shore Expressway/Route 114 off-ramp to Barrington on I-195 East at Exit 7 is closed. Traffic using the Warren Avenue on-ramp to I-195 East must merge with traffic in the right lane of 195.
  • On I-195 East, between Exit 6 (Broadway) and the Massachusetts state line, motorists need to use the far right lane to access Exit 7 (Rte. 114). The two left lanes are for I-195 East through traffic only. The right lane also can be used for access to Exit 8 (Warren Ave.) or to continue on I-195 East into Massachusetts. Originally built in 1959, the Pawtucket Avenue Bridge is located between Warren Avenue and Grosvenor Avenue and carries 23,000 vehicles per day. It is one of the most heavily traveled bridges in East Providence.

The replacement of the Pawtucket Avenue Bridge is made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT's ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island's transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair, promote economic development, and create jobs. Learn more at www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks.

All dates and times are weather-dependent and subject to change. To sign up for weekly updates on this or other RIDOT projects around the state, contact help@ridot.net. Visit www.dot.ri.gov or follow RIDOTnews on Facebook or Twitter for timely information on construction projects and traffic conditions.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Transportation
  • Online: http://www.dot.ri.gov
  • Release date: 05-17-2017

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