The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is reminding motorists about the next step in a series of temporary traffic pattern changes on I-95 in Providence as part of the $10.8 million Oxford Street Bridge rehabilitation project. The changes include lane splits this summer for both northbound and southbound traffic between Exit 18 (Thurbers Avenue) and the I-195 interchange.
This weekend, the current split-lane traffic pattern will be changed slightly. I-95 North traffic will have two lanes on either side of the lane split. On I-95 South, there will be three lanes to the left of the split and two to the right.
For this phase of the project only, approximately one week, I-95 South traffic will not be able to access Exit 18. Use Exit 19 (Eddy Street) for the R.I. Hospitals campus and Exit 17 (Elmwood Avenue) for South Providence. Exit 18 will only be open for I-195 West ramp traffic.
All travel lanes continue through the work zone. Motorists should not stop or switch lanes as this can lead to crashes or create unnecessary congestion.
The traffic patterns will provide a safe work zone so RIDOT can rapidly replace the bridge deck, one lane at a time. The Department chose the summertime for this work because traffic volumes are lower as compared to other times of the year.
The introduction of the lane splits, coupled with an existing short merge for on-ramp traffic from Thurbers Avenue and Allens Avenue to I-95 North, may cause additional delays during rush hour periods. Motorists using the Thurbers Avenue/Allens Avenue on-ramp, particularly commercial truck traffic in and around the Port of Providence area, may wish to use alternate routes or avoid travel during the busiest times, which are typically 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays. RIDOT will keep this on-ramp open, but will carefully monitor traffic and make changes as necessary.
Motorists should plan extra time for their trip, especially during peak morning and afternoon rush hours. To avoid traffic congestion, RIDOT recommends that motorists ride the commuter rail to Providence or Boston during this work. There are 20 stops on weekdays at both Wickford Junction and T.F. Green Stations. See www.RideTheRailsRI.com for more information.
The temporary traffic pattern will change every one to two weeks. All split-lane configurations are scheduled to be complete by the end of August, and traffic lane shifts are scheduled to be removed by the end of September. Graphics depicting each stage of the lane splits are available online at www.ridot.net/Oxford.
All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.
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