The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has closed the west bound side of the Washington Bridge due to the finding of a critical failure of some bridge components. These particular components are part of the original Washington Bridge which was built in 1968. They were uncovered during the reconstruction of the Washington Bridge.
Initially, all the westbound lanes will be closed and traffic diverted to alternate routes. In the next two to three weeks RIDOT will move traffic to two lanes on the eastbound side at which time permanent repairs will begin on the westbound side. This will require a closure of two lanes on I-195 East in the area of Exit 1A (India Street) starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, December 12.
Depending on the severity of what RIDOT finds in its initial work, the repair could take three months or more. RIDOT has alerted emergency vehicle operators and officials in the adjoining cities and towns. Director Peter Alviti said, "In the process of reconstructing the Washington Bridge, our consultants found urgent safety issues that could cause a critical deficiency on this side of the bridge. We are closing the westbound side until we can make it completely safe."
Beginning immediately and during the time that it takes to make the repairs and reopen the westbound side, travelers are asked to take the marked detour routes which are:
Local traffic in East Providence: Take Exit 2 to Broadway. Follow detour signs to the Henderson Bridge and rejoin I-195 West at Gano Street.
Southeast Massachusetts west of Fall River, MA: Take Massachusetts Exit 1 and follow Route 114A to Route 44 West. Follow onto Route 114 (Pawtucket Avenue) or Route 1A (Newport Avenue) to I-95. This is the preferred routes for trucks.
Southeast Massachusetts east of Fall River, MA (including traffic coming from Cape Cod and the New Bedford Area): Take Massachusetts Exit 14B to Route 24 North. Follow to I-495 North to I-95.
The Washington Bridge carries 96,000 vehicles daily. The total construction cost for the Washington Bridge project is $78 million.