Downtown Newport Ramp Permanent Closure | LEARN MORE

Newport Pell Bridge Approaches

  • Reconstruction of the Newport Pell Bridge Approaches
    Reconstruction of the Newport Pell Bridge Approaches
  • Pell Bridge Approaches and Route 238 Looking South
    Reconstruction of the Newport Pell Bridge Approaches
  • Detail of Pell Bridge Approaches Looking West
    Reconstruction of the Newport Pell Bridge Approaches

The Project

In the 1960s the Pell Bridge and Interchange were completed, however the Route 138 northbound approach was never completed, which would have connected Newport to Route 24 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Then between 2001 through 2008, the Rhode Island Office of Statewide Planning identified the Aquidneck Island Travel Corridor as a major travel corridor of statewide significance. Long-range goals were established to the year 2020 including:

  • Protecting the open space and scenic vistas of ocean and agricultural lands by confining mixed-use development to designated growth centers.
  • Providing transportation alternatives and network connections including expanded ferry service, increased bus schedules, improved bicycle and pedestrian circulation, and Park & Rides that provide a safer network for all modes of transportation.

The Project was reactivated with the Aquidneck Island Transportation Study (AITS) in 2009 and then again in 2017 with the City of Newport's economic plan to create an "Innovation District".

Traffic volumes on the Aquidneck Island bridges and roadways have increased significantly over the past 40 years. This traffic increase is attributable to many factors, including more households spread among different locations on the Island, increasing levels of automobile ownership, changing commuting patterns, and increased tourism. Safety continues to be a major concern of the Island community. These concerns were elevated following several pedestrian fatalities along Island roadways caused in part by the increasing difficulty in safely crossing major streets.

Project Schedule & Cost

  • Location: Newport
  • Start Phase 1 Construction: 2020
  • Finish Phase 1 Construction: 2021
  • Start Phase 2 Construction: 2021
  • Finish Phase 2 Construction: 2024
  • Total Projected Cost: $85.5 Million
  • Detours Needed: TBD

Old Downtown Newport Exit Permanently Closed

Read the Latest Press Release

Why We're Replacing the Pell Ramps

The purpose of the proposed improvements is to:

  • Improve safety for all road users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles
  • Improve safety at the eastern terminus of Route 138
  • Increase connectively to downtown Newport
  • Support the economic development plan developed by the City of Newport
  • Create parcels for development

The Project Needs include:

  • Reduce vehicular congestion and queuing on the Pell Bridge
  • Improve connectivity between Newport's North End and Downtown areas for all road users
  • Reduce traffic in downtown Newport
  • Provide bicycle and pedestrian facilities
  • Spur economic development to create an "Innovation Hub"

The primary components of RIDOT's proposed project include:

  • Consolidate and remove existing highway infrastructure
  • Provide connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists between Admiral Kalbfus Road and America's Cup Avenue along Newport Secondary corridor
  • Provide park & ride and transit opportunity between Pell Bridge Interchange and Gateway Center

How we will build it

The project is divided into two phases:

  • Phase 1 ($10.9 million) will focus on the reconstruction of JT Connell Highway and Coddington Highway
  • Phase 2 ($74 million) focuses on the ramp interchange itself

PROJECT UPDATES | FEBRUARY, 2024

Electrical work continues, requiring intermittent shoulder closures at the following intersections, Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Third Street/Admiral Kalbfus Road and JT Connell Highway/Van Zandt Avenue/Farewell Street. Drainage work will also continue along the edge of the new Park and Ride and off-road on the corner of JT Connell Highway and JT Connell Connector. Earthwork at the new Park and Ride and removal of asphalt and other infrastructure at the closed “Road to Nowhere” ramp is also scheduled. Behind barrier on Route 138 East, we will also do utility work for new streetlights and fiberoptic lines. Businesses remain open during construction and traffic personnel is on site to assist as necessary.

Click here for the latest lane closure information