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The $78 million Washington Bridge project is much more than a bridge project. While it will address the structural deficiencies of the westbound portion of the Washington Bridge, which carries I-195 over the Seekonk River between East Providence and Providence, it also includes a new off-ramp to support economic development opportunities and address chronic congestion issues on the Interstate.
Thanks to the efforts of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation in support of a $25 million federal BUILD grant, we can expand the project to include a new exit to Waterfront Drive in East Providence – providing access to dozens of acres of developable land. We also will construct an additional through lane on the bridge to better accommodate Interstate traffic and the high volume of traffic entering the highway from the Veterans Memorial Parkway, Warren Avenue and Taunton Avenue ramps.
The bridge carries more than 96,000 vehicles per day and is one of the busiest sections of Interstate highway in Rhode Island. It is the source of chronic congestion with backups often extending as far back as the Massachusetts state line, particularly during the morning rush hour. When the project is done, the average morning commute from the state line to I-95 will be trimmed by 40 percent, from 16 minutes to 9.5 minutes.
Next week, we plan to install temporary barrier, build the new connector road from Valley Street to Waterfront Drive, and install the new weather station. This useful tool will help us determine pavement temperatures/ conditions to better inform area motorists. As part of this overnight bridge work along I-195 West, we need to close Exit 1D (Gano Street), the Warren Avenue/Veterans Memorial Parkway and Taunton Avenue on-ramps, and alternating lanes. Please follow signed detours.
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