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Traffic Advisory: Lane Shift Planned for Exchange Street Bridge Repairs

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced it will begin a $900,000 repair project for the Exchange Street Bridge, which carries traffic over the Woonasquatucket River and the Providence Riverwalk between Memorial Boulevard and Stillman Street in Providence. Currently the bridge carries a 12-ton weight limit.

The work is scheduled to start on Saturday, October 20 and will involve closing the western half of the bridge and shifting the travel lanes to the eastern side of the bridge. This will eliminate one of the two southbound lanes on the bridge. To establish this new traffic pattern, the bridge will be temporarily closed from 10 p.m. Saturday through 5 a.m. Sunday, October 21. A signed detour will be established.

Traffic volumes on this roadway are low, about 5,900 vehicles per day, and RIDOT does not expect significant delays from this new traffic pattern.

Construction also will require the closure of the sidewalk along the western side of the bridge, and the stairwell on the northwest corner of the bridge, which leads down to the Riverwalk. Signs will be installed at crosswalks to direct pedestrians to the other side of the street.

This change is needed to create a work zone in which RIDOT will remove the pavement and perform repairs to the bridge, including rehabilitating the bridge joints, installing a new waterproof membrane and repaving the bridge.

After approximately one month, the traffic pattern will be changed with the eastern half of the bridge closed, as well as its sidewalk and the northeast stairwell to the Riverwalk. After one month, by the end of the year, all lanes and pedestrian walkways will be restored.

For the duration of the traffic shifts, trucks traveling from Memorial Boulevard eastbound toward Exchange Street northbound will be directed to follow a short detour using Exchange Terrace.

This week, construction activities will be ongoing and may result in intermittent closures of one or the other Riverwalks that pass under the bridge, but not both at the same time. This work is anticipated to continue until approximately mid-November 2018. During these closures, pedestrians will be re-directed to stairwells to the other side of the river. The walkways will be completely open during any remaining WaterFire events this season.

The project will continue in 2019 with additional work taking place under the bridge, and RIDOT will coordinate construction with the organizers of WaterFire to minimize any disruption. Work next spring will include the application of carbon fiber components to strengthen the bridge and extend its service life.

Once construction is done in Summer 2019, the weight limit will be lifted.

This bridge work was 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

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Transportation
  • Online:
  • Release date: 10-16-2018

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