The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced that it is taking immediate steps to rectify traffic congestion on I-95 South in Providence as part of a new traffic pattern on the Providence Viaduct project. Work is scheduled tonight to return the traffic pattern to its prior configuration, in time for the Wednesday morning commute.
"We apologize for the inconvenience motorists experienced this morning," Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. "Not only are we putting things back the way they were, we're reevaluating our operations and will have improved signage and more media outreach to alert motorists during the transitionary period associated with opening the new bridge."
RIDOT today made adjustments to signage and traffic barrels at the traffic split at Exit 21 (Atwells Avenue). It is important to know that motorists can travel on either side of the split to continue on I-95 South.
Following the restoration of the previous traffic pattern during overnight work tonight, RIDOT will finalize plans to institute the new traffic pattern this coming weekend on Saturday, October 22. During overnight work tonight and Friday night, there will be lane closures to allow for the switching of lanes. All lanes are scheduled to reopen by 6 a.m. the following morning.
The new traffic pattern is part of the ongoing Providence Viaduct Replacement Project. Ultimately, this work will transition all travel lanes on I-95 South to the new bridge, which is being built immediately adjacent to the old bridge. The Department will be utilizing pavement striping, traffic signs, and concrete barriers, to implement the change over the course of three phases. The approximate schedule of these changes include:
• Phase 1: Scheduled to be in place Saturday, October 22, there will be two through lanes to the left on the old bridge and one through lane to the right on the new bridge. Traffic taking Exit 21 can use the far right lane (which is an exit-only lane for Atwells Avenue).
• Phase 2: Approximately one week later, there will be one through lane to the left on the old bridge and two through lanes to the right on the new bridge. Again, traffic taking Exit 21 will need have access to the far right lane (which is an exit-only lane for Atwells Avenue).
• Phase 3: In early November there will be no traffic splits, with all three lanes open on the new bridge and one exit-only lane designated for Exit 21.
RIDOT encourages all motorists to reduce their speed and drive safely through all work zones. All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. RIDOT will continue to provide frequent updates on these traffic pattern changes – visit www.ridot.net for the most current information.