The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that beginning the week of March 18, 2012, motorists on I-295 will encounter a new traffic pattern with only two lanes of travel instead of three at the Blackstone Viaduct on the Lincoln/Cumberland line between Exit 9 (Route 146) and Exit 10 (Route 122/Mendon Road). Additionally, Exit 10 on I-295 North will be closed periodically and will not be accessible for trucks.
This new traffic pattern is needed to maintain safe travel for motorists while the Department reconstructs the 690-foot long Blackstone Viaduct, which carries the Interstate over the Blackstone River, a Providence & Worcester Railroad line and a portion of the Blackstone Valley Bikeway. Only two lanes of travel in each direction will be available throughout the life of the project, which is expected to conclude in Fall 2013. This first phase of construction will wrap up this fall, and be followed by ongoing construction that will require additional traffic pattern changes. All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change.
The traffic pattern also will feature a split-road formation with a single lane of traffic on the northbound bridge and the other on the southbound bridge. This traffic pattern will use the crossover lane in the median that RIDOT built last fall. Those wishing to take Exit 10 must use the right travel lane in order to take the off-ramp. All truck traffic will be directed to the left travel lane and therefore will need to follow the detour for Exit 10 closures.
"Drivers should reduce their speed and drive cautiously through the work zone as they become accustomed to the new traffic patterns," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said.
Motorists will encounter daytime and overnight lane restrictions as RIDOT transitions to the new traffic patterns. Day-by-day closure information will be posted on RIDOT's Travel Advisories website at: www.tmc.dot.ri.gov/traveladvisories. It is expected that Monday, March 19, travel on I-295 South will be reduced to only two lanes. RIDOT's current schedule predicts that on Thursday, March 22, motorists will have only two lanes of travel for I-295 North using the split-road formation.
Through a $12.9 million bridge reconstruction contract with Cardi Corporation, RIDOT will replace the deck and make numerous other repairs on the 48-year-old span.
Exit 10 may be closed during overnight hours Sunday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and on Saturdays from 6-10 a.m. Closure information will be posted on RIDOT's Travel Advisories website at: www.tmc.dot.ri.gov/traveladvisories. The following is the detour route for trucks and for all vehicles during Exit 10 closures:
• Take Exit 11 (Route 114/Diamond Hill Road)
• Turn left at the end of the ramp onto Route 114 North
• After crossing over the highway, take the first left for the on-ramp to I-295 South
• Take Exit 10 to Route 122/Mendon Road
More information and detour maps will be available on RIDOT's website at: www.dot.ri.gov/construction/projects/blackstone_viaduct.
Users of the Blackstone River Bikeway may encounter closures where the bridge passes over the bike path. RIDOT will keep the path open as much as possible, but will need to close it for safety when working directly over the bikeway. The path would only be closed during working hours on weekdays, with the path reopened for use late each afternoon. The path also would be open on weekends and holidays.
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's social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Blogger.
Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362, Ext. 4007