The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding motorists that starting Friday night, November 11, it will begin the process of sliding two bridge decks into place at the Pontiac Avenue interchange in Cranston. The forecast for heavy rain and windy conditions associated with Tropical Storm Nicole could affect RIDOT's schedule, and the Department will post updates on its website and social media sites should the work be postponed.
The bridge slides will require two consecutive weekend closures of Pontiac Avenue. Parts of Route 37 westbound and eastbound will be affected but travelers will access the Pontiac Avenue ramps to move easily on Route 37. The first closure will be from Friday, November 11 at 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday, November 14. The second closure will be from Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m. to Monday, November 21 at 6 a.m.
RIDOT expects travel delays and strongly encourages travelers to consider alternate routes to access the busy Reservoir Avenue commercial district, including the Garden City and Chapel View shopping centers.
RIDOT constructed the new bridge decks along Pontiac Avenue adjacent to Route 37. Each weekend RIDOT will demolish one half of the bridge and slide the new bridge deck into place using multi-wheeled, self-propelled modular transporters.
Route 37 West: November 11-14
For the first closure, RIDOT also needs to close I-95 South to Exits 31B and 31A. The Department recommends drivers consider alternate routes such as Route 10 to Route 2, I-295 to Route 2 and I-295 to Route 37 to reach their destinations. Signed detours include:
Route 37 West: Use Exit 1E (Pontiac Avenue) to detour, getting back onto the highway using the Route 37 West on-ramp located directly across the street. Police officers will be present to keep traffic flowing through the detour.
I-95 South Exit 31B toward Cranston: Use Exit 28B to I-295 North toward the Route 37 interchange.
I-95 South Exit 31A toward Warwick: Use Exit 29 (Airport Connector) and take the Post Road exit and turn left onto Route 1 North toward Airport Road.
Pontiac Avenue Southbound: Use Sockanosset Cross Road westbound to Route 2 South to the on-ramp to Route 37 East.
Pontiac Avenue Northbound: Use the on-ramp to Route 37 East and use Exit 2B for I-95 North, looping back onto Route 37 West (Exit 31B) and taking the off-ramp at Exit 1E to Pontiac Avenue.
Detour maps are available at www.ridot.net/DetourMaps.
Route 37 East: November 18-21
The second bridge slide weekend for Route 37 East is scheduled to begin Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m. lasting until Monday, November 21 at 6 a.m. Like the Route 37 West detour, the Route 37 East detour also uses off-ramps and on-ramps located across the street from one another. The detours for Pontiac Avenue will be the same as the first closure weekend.
The bridge slides are a form of accelerated bridge construction that saves an additional 24 months compared to conventional construction methods. This rapid approach minimizes the overall disruption to traffic and the surrounding commercial districts, limiting noise and vehicle emissions associated with much longer duration construction projects.
This $75.9 million, multi-bridge project is repairing deficient bridges along the Route 37 corridor with preservation, major rehabilitation, and/or reconstruction of 15 bridge structures in Cranston and Warwick. Six of these bridges are structurally deficient. Four will be replaced and two other bridges will be rehabilitated. The project also includes safety improvements at the Pontiac Avenue interchange from Route 37 West.
Route 37 is a critical east-west freeway in central Rhode Island, linking the cities of Cranston and Warwick, major retail, office and residential areas, Interstate highways and T.F. Green State Airport. With a daily traffic count of 42,000 vehicles, Route 37 is one of the state's busiest corridors.
The project is funded in part by a $20 million federal TIGER grant secured by Rhode Island's Congressional delegation. It will be finished in spring 2023.
All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.
The Route 37 Project is made possible by RhodeWorks and the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Improvement Act. RIDOT is committed to bringing Rhode Island's infrastructure into a state of good repair while respecting the environment and striving to improve it. Learn more at www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks.