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Travel Advisory Reminder: I-195 Eastbound 3-Lane Configuration to Begin for Morning Commute on April 10

As part of the previously announced plan to create three lanes of through travel on both sides of the Washington Bridge, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding motorists that it will begin with changing the traffic pattern on I-195 East to provide three lanes of through travel. RIDOT will restripe the highway during the evening and overnight hours tonight, Tuesday, April 9. The change will be in effect for the morning commute tomorrow, Wednesday, April 10.

With a number of days of rainy weather forecast for later this week, RIDOT is taking advantage of a window of good weather that will allow the Department to restripe the highway and put part of the new traffic pattern into place.

RIDOT is making these change to reduce congestion and decrease travel times for both directions of I-195 affected by the closure of the Washington Bridge westbound. There will be no change at this time for I-195 West, which will still have two lanes of travel.

With the change for eastbound travelers, drivers can expect:

  • Lanes will be reduced in width. The left and center lanes will be 10 feet wide, and trucks will be restricted to the far-right lane, which will be 11 feet wide. RIDOT will post signage that trucks must use the far-right lane only.
  • The speed limit on I-195 East will be reduced to 40 mph.
  • In addition to reducing their speed, drivers should stay in their lane and refrain from any distractions.

RIDOT this week is beginning an informational advertising campaign to prepare travelers, utilizing print, broadcast and social media and electronic message signs to inform travelers of the new three-lane traffic configuration. Each time the Department introduces a new traffic pattern, it may cause some delay so motorists should provide themselves some additional travel time tomorrow.

RIDOT will continue construction to implement a three-lane traffic configuration for I-195 West traffic on or before April 22. Following the establishment of the three-lane configuration for eastbound drivers this week, RIDOT will install new median barrier prior to implementing the three-lane configuration for westbound traffic.

RIDOT, along with traffic engineering and structural engineering consultants and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) traffic experts, have certified that the eastbound bridge structure is sufficient to carry the extra lane.

Because of the three-lane configuration eastbound, traffic entering the highway from South Water Street and India Street will need to merge with the right travel lane when entering the highway. This may cause delays for motorists using this ramp to enter onto I-195 East during rush hour.

Once the three-lane configuration is fully put into place, RIDOT will remove the lane reduction on I-195 West just east of the East Shore Expressway near the state line, which was installed in early February. This will no longer be needed with the three-lane configuration.

The schedule is weather-dependent and subject to change.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Transportation
  • Online: http://www.dot.ri.gov
  • Release date: 04-08-2024

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