Governor Dan McKee, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline, Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti and other state and local leaders gathered on the side of Route 146 in North Smithfield today to break ground for the Route 146 Reconstruction Project, kicking off the 2022 construction season.
The expansive $196 million project will make greatly needed improvements to the Route 146 corridor, making it safer and reducing congestion which will reduce vehicle emissions. In 2020, Rhode Island's Congressional Delegation secured a $65 million federal INFRA grant – the largest the state ever received – to allow the Department to properly address all the concerns with Route 146 with a single project.
The project will replace or repair five bridges, repave 8 miles of roadway and build a flyover bridge to carry Route 146 over Sayles Hill Road – eliminating the traffic signal at Sayles Hill Road, the only traffic light on all of Route 146. This intersection averages more than 85 crashes per year and is a source of significant congestion and travel delay.
The Route 146 Project is one of 60 projects RIDOT will work on this year, valued at $1.8 billion. Fueled by an infusion of funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, RIDOT has accelerated about 100 projects in its ten-year-plan. These projects include bridge rehabilitation, resurfacing, traffic safety projects, stormwater and bike/ped improvements.
RIDOT will focus on paving for the next five years. It has committed $92 million to paving projects this year and $422 million over the next five years. One of the first tasks of the Route 146 project will be paving badly deteriorated sections of the highway this summer. See a full list of 2022 paving projects at www.ridot.net/RIDOTPaving.
"Thanks to the Biden Administration and our Congressional Delegation we are kicking off construction season with an infusion of federal funds that will go towards fixing our roads and bridges and creating good paying union jobs," said Governor McKee. "As construction kicks off across our state, I ask motorists to be on the lookout for construction zones and to drive carefully when around them."
"In addition to large projects like this new one on Route 146 and the ongoing Route 6/10, Providence Viaduct, Washington Bridge and Henderson Bridge projects, we will begin a series of projects to address our deteriorated roadways," Director Alviti said. "We'll take the same aggressive approach we utilized in the RhodeWorks program to fix our structurally deficient bridges and bring our long-neglected roadways into a state of good repair."
Now in its seventh year, RIDOT's RhodeWorks program has overseen 237 projects that include work on 359 bridges. In total RIDOT has completed 196 projects, valued at $3.1 billion. In addition to the Route 146 Project, other major projects under construction in 2022 include:
* The $410 million Route 6/10 Interchange Project – www.ridot.net/610
* The $265 million I-95 Viaduct Northbound – www.ridot.net/ProvidenceViaduct
* The $164.5 million Route 37 Bridges Projects – www.ridot.net/Route37Bridges
* The $84.9 million Pell Bridge Ramps Projects – www.ridot.net/PellBridgeRamps
* The $84.4 million Henderson Bridge Project – www.ridot.net/Henderson
* The $78 million Washington Bridge Project – www.ridot.net/WashingtonBridge
"Not only will this project relieve congestion, but it will be a relief for drivers who will no longer have to navigate gaping potholes on their daily commute. For years, Route 146 has been one of the most problematic stretches of road in the state. After decades of patches, it is in dire need of repair. I'm proud to help deliver federal funding to fix this heavily-used roadway and modernize it to improve safety, better integrate public transportation and technology, and boost local businesses," said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD).
"I created the INFRA program to accomplish major once-in-a-generation infrastructure projects that states typically don't have the resources to do on their own," said Senator Whitehouse, who authored the INFRA Program in 2015 to help meet Rhode Island's need for large-scale infrastructure investments. "I'm thrilled that RIDOT won its largest federal grant ever from my program, and that the funding will support job-creating upgrades to Route 146, including the elimination of the dangerous Sayles Hill bottleneck. Driving Route 146 will soon be a whole lot more pleasant and efficient."
"This year's construction season is particularly exciting because it's the first where federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal is available," said Congressman Langevin. "For years, Director Alviti, the folks at RIDOT, and our state's construction crews have been hard at work to complete critical infrastructure projects from the RhodeWorks framework on-budget and ahead of schedule. This summer, I'm looking forward to watching them put these hard-earned federal dollars to work and continuing to cross these vital projects off our list."
"Route 146 is a heavily traveled corridor that has been plagued by deteriorating conditions and outdated design, leading to congestion and vehicular collisions. I was proud to work with my colleagues to help secure a $65 million grant to help address safety concerns along this stretch of highway, and I am excited to be celebrating the kickoff of RIDOT's construction season at this project's groundbreaking," said Congressman Cicilline. "With the infusion of additional federal dollars from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, our state will be able to make even greater improvements to our roads and bridges in the construction seasons to come."
Other highlights of the Route 146 project include:
* Replacing one bridge along the corridor and implementing preservation or rehabilitation work on four others
* Building frontage roads for easy and safe access to businesses at the Sayles Hill Road interchange
* Repaving Route 146 from the I-295 interchange to the Massachusetts state line
* Adding bus-on-shoulder accommodations along the southern end of Route 146 in North Providence and Providence
* Extending existing fiber optic lines and intelligent transportation systems/traffic monitoring from the I-295 interchange to the Massachusetts state line
* Rebuilding the Route 146/Route 146A interchange, removing dangerous U-turns using a diverging diamond interchange
* Extending the weave length for the Route 99 Ramp and Route 146 south
* Improving the geometry of the I-295 southbound off-ramp to Route 146
* Building new drainage systems
* Replacing guardrail and making other safety improvements such as wrong way driving detection systems
More than 171,000 vehicles travel Route 146 between Providence and Worcester each day. The project will be done in spring 2026.
All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.
The Route 146 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.