Starting on Friday night, May 12, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will make changes to the off-ramp at Exit 38A (old Exit 23) in Providence, which provides access to Route 146 North. Over the course of the weekend, RIDOT will open a new bridge as part of the $265 million I-95 North Viaduct project. Lanes will be narrowed and one of the two lanes will be closed through the weekend.
The process of opening the new bridge will begin at 9 p.m. Friday and requires shifting traffic to the left of the current lanes to Route 146 as well as a lane reduction. Drivers can expect some congestion and should provide additional time for travel this weekend. Motorists may bypass this part of I-95 with local city traffic getting on the highway north of this interchange, using either the Charles Street, Branch Avenue or North Main Street on-ramps. I-95 North through traffic may wish to use I-295 as an alternate route.
With traffic shifted off the old ramp bridge, RIDOT will do additional work to open both lanes on the new ramp bridge by 5 a.m. Monday morning, May 15. RIDOT will install additional signage to clearly mark the location of the lanes to the new ramp.
The changes do not affect access to the State Offices (Exit 38B). To assist any motorists who mistakenly miss the new Route 146 exit and take the State Offices exit, RIDOT will install trailblazing signs to direct drivers to get onto Route 146 North at the Charles Street on-ramp (just north of Admiral Street).
After the weekend traffic change, RIDOT will demolish the old ramp bridge. In its place the Department will build lanes as part of a new collector-distributor road being constructed alongside I-95 North. This new roadway will open by the end of the year and separate all on- and off-ramp traffic between Atwells Avenue and the State Offices exit from the I-95 North through lanes. The design will improve safety, maximize traffic efficiency and solve chronic congestion problems, and reduce vehicle emissions, utilizing the same footprint as the original highway bridges.
In addition to replacing the nearly 1,300-foot long I-95 North Viaduct, the project will rebuild 10 additional bridges, many of which are of critical safety concern. The Viaduct carries more than 220,000 vehicles per day over numerous local roads and highway ramps, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and the Woonasquatucket River. It is the busiest section of I-95 in Rhode Island and one of the most heavily trafficked highway bridges on the East Coast. The entire project finishes in fall 2025.
All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.
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