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Rhode Island DOT and Congressional Delegation Break Ground for Providence Viaduct Northbound Project

PROVIDENCE, RI — Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti, Jr., U.S. Senator Jack Reed, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman Jim Langevin, Congressman David Cicilline, and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza recently broke ground to mark the start of construction on the $265-million Providence Viaduct Northbound Project.

This project will replace the 1,295-foot long northbound section of the Providence Viaduct Bridge, which carries I-95 over numerous local roads and highway ramps, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, and the Woonasquatucket River. This section of I-95 carries more than 220,000 vehicles per day. It is the busiest section of I-95 in Rhode Island and one of the most heavily trafficked highway bridges on the East Coast.

Due to the efforts of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation in securing a $60.3-million federal INFRA grant for the project, RIDOT will do more than just replace this bridge. This new configuration will improve the congestion caused by traffic trying to access I-95 northbound from the 6/10 Connector and by traffic trying to exit I-95 to access Route 146 or the State Offices.

RIDOT will rebuild 11 bridges in total, many of which are of critical safety concern and will correct the inefficiencies, congestion, and safety issues that exist today.

“This is an historic moment. For way too long this critical set of bridges has teetered on the edge of becoming unsafe. We have propped it up and patched it up, and watched it like hawks for years, waiting for this moment,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. “Our thanks to Rhode Island’s congressional delegation who once again, brought home the federal funds we need to not only rebuild, but to also make the viaduct safer and eliminate the congestion that people experience every day.”

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“The Providence Viaduct is one of the most heavily trafficked stretches of highway in the country, and this project will help carry residents and visitors more swiftly and safely to destinations throughout our city and state,” Elorza said. “I commend the Rhode Island Department of Transportation for their innovative and thoughtful approach to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to better connect the region to the Creative Capital and thank all of the partners who supported this project.”

The project includes the construction of a new collector-distributor road along the right side of the interstate. This eliminates the weaving conflicts and congestion that plague the segment of I-95 Northbound from the 6/10 Connector and Downtown on-ramps to the Route 146/State Offices interchange. RIDOT also will reconfigure ramps to disentangle conflicting movements, improving motorist safety and comfort, and reducing congestion and delay. The new ramp system will provide more efficient connections among I-95, the 6/10 Connector, and Route 146.

The Providence Viaduct Northbound is a design-build project being built by Skanska/Manafort Joint Venture, headed up by Skanska, an engineering and construction company. Design firm HNTB will be the lead designer. Design work is underway.

The bulk of construction will begin in spring 2021. The initial phase involves demolition of the old bridge segment, which originally carried I-95 South traffic. An earlier design for Providence Viaduct Northbound called for reusing the bridge to accommodate traffic during construction, but the winning proposal by Skanska/Manafort presented a solution that saved a year of time and approximately $1 million that would have been required to upgrade that old span for temporary use.

Other work scheduled for next year includes bridge preservation on four area bridges, including the Atwells Avenue Bridge over I-95, the bridges carrying I-95 over Ashburton Street and Charles Street, and the bridge carrying Park Street over the Woonasquatucket River. Lane closure and travel restrictions on these bridges are likely.

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Other highlights of the project include:

  • Replacement of the Smith Street Bridge
  • Replacement of the Route 146 Bridge over I-95
  • Building new retaining walls alongside I-95 and Park Street
  • Rebuilding the Atwells Avenue on-ramp to I-95 North
  • Rebuilding the ramp from the Route 6/10 Connector to I-95 North
  • Rebuilding the ramp from Memorial Boulevard to I-95 North

Construction on the entire project will be complete in 2025.

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