Additional funds allow road improvements in Newport's North End to be done sooner
The addition of $20 million in federal grant money secured by Senator Jack Reed will enable the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to accelerate work associated with the Pell Bridge Ramp Project - including adding more roadwork connecting to this important interchange and gateway to Newport.
RIDOT is able to include a reconstruction of segments of J.T. Connell Highway in Newport and Coddington Highway in Newport and Middletown, which together serve as one of the main thoroughfares through Newport's North End, and gateway to downtown Newport and the Naval Station Newport. Previously, this roadway was scheduled for reconstruction as part of a separate, future project. The entire project is estimated to cost $66.1 million.
The new grant funds also will allow more work to begin sooner on the project, including the installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Admiral Kalbfus Road, Girard Avenue and Malbone Road and an upgraded traffic signal at the intersection of Admiral Kalbfus Road and 3rd Street. Work on these two intersections can now be completed prior to the larger Pell Bridge Ramp reconfiguration, and improve safety and aid traffic movements through this area during construction.
"This federal grant will make a big impact on our efforts to increase the safety and efficiency of the Pell Bridge while opening up land for development. By reconfiguring the Pell ramps, we are creating space for new investment in science, technology and innovation," said Governor Gina Raimondo. "I want to thank our Congressional Delegation for their hard work in helping acquire this funding."
"We thank Senator Reed and the entire Rhode Island Congressional delegation, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and U.S. DOT for their efforts in providing additional funds for this project," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. "It will allow us to do more work, and do it faster, and provide an improved roadway network for both Newport's North End gateway and Pell Bridge gateway."
The Pell Bridge Ramps Project will reconfigure the Pell Bridge ramps to provide quicker access to Newport town center and to relieve traffic backups on the bridge. It also proposes a complete removal of the viaduct infrastructure over Admiral Kalbfus Road which will free up significant acreage of land for economic development in Newport.
Reconstruction of the Newport-Pell Bridge Ramps has been needed for some time as the ramps were originally designed in the 1960s for a relocated Route 138 project which never came to fulfillment. More than 40,000 vehicles per day go over the Pell Bridge and the ramps during peak summer season and when there are special events in Newport. Delays can extend to one quarter mile and have been known to extend to one mile during peak hours because of congestion on the ramps. The planned reconstruction of the ramps will address these congestion and economic development issues.
The total project area is approximately 50 acres, much of which is located in the Newport Resilience Innovation District. Tentative plans also include a bike path, transit platforms and a Park and Ride to provide alternative modes of transportation and capture vehicles to move visitors in and out of the downtown area more efficiently.
The final design for the Pell Bridge Ramps Project is subject to completion of a federal Environmental Assessment process, which RIDOT expects to conclude in early Summer 2019. The preliminary construction schedule calls for the advertising process for a contractor for initial construction activities in Fall 2019 with work starting the following spring.
The Pell Bridge Ramps Project 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 www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks.