The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will begin a series of traffic changes at the Kingston Road Bridge, which carries I-95 over Route 138 at Exit 3 in Richmond, on Friday, June 19. The 68-year old bridge will be completely replaced as part of a $21.3 million project that also will reconfigure the ramps in the interchange during construction which, when finished, will make it safer.
The first step in replacing the bridge involves building a crossover road in the median to handle future lane shifts for phased bridge demolition and replacement. On Friday night, RIDOT will close the tightly curved ramps in the center of the interchange and direct traffic to the remaining ramps that have been reconfigured so traffic can go east or west on Route 138 from a single exit instead of two. New traffic signals will be activated where the ramps meet Route 138 to safely accommodate all turns to and from I-95.
On Sunday night, June 21, RIDOT will implement a right lane shift for I-95 northbound and southbound, creating a work zone in the median to build the crossover road. In late summer, lanes will shift again just prior to bridge demolition. The process of replacing the bridges will wrap up in Summer 2021 and the entire project will be done in Spring 2022.
The Kingston Road Bridge carries 51,300 vehicles per day and is only one rating point from being structurally deficient.
When the bridge work is complete, the new ramp configuration will remove the sharply curved highway off-ramps as well as the tight weave that exists today on the highway with ramps spaced too closely together. Over a five-year period from 2015-2019, there were 148 crashes at the interchange including one fatality and 28 involving injuries. A review of crash data found that 52 crashes involved rear-end collisions, 27 in which an operator lost control of the vehicle and 4 in which a vehicle rolled over. RIDOT expects the alignment and geometry of the new ramps will reduce the number of crashes and make the interchange safer.
All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.
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