October 21, 2021
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The Rhode Island Department of Transportation recently hosted a ceremony with Governor Dan McKee (D) plus other state and local leaders to break ground on the $78 million Washington Bridge North project.

[Above photo by RIDOT]

RIDOT said this project – scheduled for completion in 2026 – addresses the structural deficiencies of the westbound portion of the Washington Bridge, which carries I-195 over the Seekonk River between East Providence and Providence, while also constructing a new off-ramp to support economic development opportunities and other improvements to address chronic congestion issues on the interstate.

Image via RIDOT

The project also includes an additional through lane on the bridge to better accommodate interstate traffic and the high volume of traffic entering the highway from the Veterans Memorial Parkway, Warren Avenue and Taunton Avenue ramps.

The bridge carries more than 96,000 vehicles per day and is one of the busiest sections of interstate highway in Rhode Island. It is the source of chronic congestion with backups often extending as far back as the Massachusetts state line, particularly during the morning rush hour.

When completed, the project should reduce the average morning commute from the state line to I-95 by 40 percent, from 16 minutes to 9.5 minutes.

RIDOT noted that, thanks to the efforts of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation in support of a federal Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development or BUILD grant submitted by the agency, it secured $25 million for this project.

That allowed RIDOT to expand this bridge rehabilitation project to include a new exit to Waterfront Drive in East Providence – providing access to dozens of acres of developable land.

Peter Alviti, Jr. Photo by RIDOT.

“The Washington Bridge has to be rehabilitated to keep it safe,” noted RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. in a statement.

“And thanks to our Congressional delegation we can make additional, once-in-a-lifetime improvements at the same time that will clear up much of the daily traffic congestion along I-195 West and provide new connections for commuters and commerce,” he added.

“Once again, our Congressional delegation has stepped up and provided Rhode Island with additional funding so we can make necessary improvements to our infrastructure,” noted Gov. McKee.

“At the same time [the project will] address traffic problems that have plagued this highway for years and open the door for economic development and the many jobs that come with it,” he added.

editor@aashto.org

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