Starting the morning of Saturday, January 6, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will change the traffic pattern on I-95 North after the Downtown exit and near Providence Place Mall in Providence. The changes are part of the Providence Viaduct Northbound project and represent the opening of a new service road to separate I-95 North through traffic from on and off ramp traffic, making the highway safer and reducing delay, congestion, and vehicle emissions.
A key feature will be the relocation of Exit 38 (old Exit 23) for Route 146 and State Offices, moving it approximately one mile south of its present location. That means drivers will need to take the exit sooner and must be in the right lane as they approach the Atwells Avenue overpass and Downtown Providence exit in order to reach Route 146 and State Offices.
A summary of the changes is as follows:
- I-95 North Through Traffic: Use the two left lanes to remain on I-95. These express lanes will extend over the Providence Viaduct with no exits until the Branch Avenue off-ramp (Exit 39A).
- I-95 North to Route 146 North: Use the right lane at the newly relocated Exit 38. Once on the new service road, both left lanes will lead onto Route 146 North.
- I-95 North to State Offices: Use the right lane at the newly relocated Exit 38. Once on the new service road, use the far right lane to take the State Offices exit.
- Route 6/10 Connector and Downtown to I-95 North: Traffic will enter the new service road and should remain in the right lane. Approaching the State Offices exit, follow the signs to I-95 North.
- Route 6/10 Connector and Downtown to Route 146 North: Traffic will enter the new service road and use the two left lanes onto Route 146 North.
- Atwells Ave on-ramp to I-95 North or Route 146 North: Traffic will enter the new service road and should use the two left lanes to access Route 146 North or use the right lane to access I-95 North.
At the new split for the Route 146/State Offices exit, drivers should not slow down or suddenly change lanes. Anyone who misses the exit should remain on I-95 North and take the Branch Avenue exit. From there, they can turn left onto Branch Avenue and follow it to reach Route 146 or turn right toward North Main Street which leads to Orms Street and Smith Street (State Offices area).
In addition to replacing the nearly 1,300-foot long I-95 North Viaduct, the project is rebuilding 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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