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Travel Advisory: Lane Shifts Start March 26 on I-95 North for Providence Viaduct Northbound Construction

Construction on the Rhode Island Department of Transportation's (RIDOT) $265 million Providence Viaduct Northbound Project begins on Friday, March 26 with a series of lane shifts along the I-95 corridor between Exits 21 and Exit 23 in Providence.

RIDOT does not anticipate any travel delays during this initial phase of the project, but lanes will be narrow. Motorists can expect to see numerous pieces of construction equipment on the old I-95 southbound Viaduct, in between the two directions of travel on I-95. They will remain idle during the day, so motorists should not be distracted and continue to drive cautiously through the work zone.

RIDOT will be working at numerous locations along the project area, with lane shifts on the northbound side shifted to the left starting at Exit 21 (Broadway) and then to the right near Exits 22 (Downtown/Route 6/10) and 23 (State Offices/Route 146). No changes will take place on the southbound side until late April.

The lane shifts will provide space for the contractor to work along the highway, install drainage structures and work on bridges. In addition to replacing the nearly 1,300-foot long I-95 North Viaduct, the project will rebuild 10 more bridges, many of which are of critical safety concern. It also will correct inefficiencies, congestion and safety issues along this part of I-95. The Viaduct carries more than 220,000 vehicles per day over numerous local roads and highway ramps, Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and the Woonasquatucket River. It is the busiest section of I-95 in Rhode Island and one of the most heavily trafficked highway bridges on the East Coast.

Construction expected on the project this spring and summer includes:

  • Start demolition of the old Viaduct southbound, which is located between northbound and southbound traffic. This will start the week of March 28.
  • Perform bridge preservation work on the Atwells Avenue, Park Street, Ashburton Street and Charles Street bridges beginning in stages from late March through the summer.
  • Construct a new bridge for Route 146 North over I-95 starting in April.
  • Begin replacement of the Smith Street Bridge which will include a lane shift and reduction in travel lanes from two to one in each direction, starting in June.
  • Start retaining wall construction and drainage installation on I-95 North between Exits 21 and 22, beginning in July.

This construction will have limited impact on roadways under the Viaduct and other I-95 bridges in this project. RIDOT will continuously update lane closure information at www.ridot.net/traveladvisories.

Construction of the Viaduct Northbound is thanks in large part to the efforts of Rhode Island's Congressional delegation, which secured a $60.3 million federal INFRA grant for the project. The additional funds allow RIDOT to do much more than just replace this bridge. This new configuration will vastly improve the crippling congestion caused by traffic trying to access I-95 northbound from the 6/10 Connector and by traffic trying to exit I-95 to access Route 146 or the State Offices.

The project includes the construction of a new collector-distributor (C-D) road along the right side of the Interstate. This eliminates the weaving conflicts and congestion that plague the segment of I-95 Northbound from the 6/10 Connector and Downtown on-ramps to the Route 146/State Offices interchange. RIDOT also will reconfigure ramps to disentangle conflicting movements, improving motorist safety and comfort, and reducing congestion and delay. The new ramp system will provide more efficient connections among I-95, the 6/10 Connector, and Route 146.

Construction on the entire project will be complete in 2025.

All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.

The Providence Viaduct Northbound Project 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.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Transportation
  • Online: http://www.dot.ri.gov
  • Release date: 03-19-2021

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