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

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

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

Pell Bridge Ramps Project Community Outreach Meeting | PRESENTATION


On Thursday night, October 5, we are scheduled to move to the final traffic configuration on Admiral Kalbfus Road, removing the current lanes shifts and opening lanes that had been closed for construction. It will be going from one lane in each direction with turn lanes to two lanes in each direction with turn lanes.

To make the change, motorists can expect alternating lane closures on Admiral Kalbfus Road, from the Rotary to Malbone Road/Girard Avenue, and on Halsey Boulevard, from Admiral Kalbfus Road to the JT Connell Connector, from 8 p.m. that evening through 6 a.m. on Friday, October 6. We will be paving the closed section of Admiral Kalbfus Road on Tuesday. This may require some temporary lane shifts during the day to accomplish but no closures.

Additionally, we will continue traffic signal work in preparation for the traffic switch, earthwork for the wetland restoration, and ongoing bridge rehabilitation work along Route 138 at the Third Street, Newport Secondary, and the JT Connell Highway overpasses. These operations may require temporary lane shifts along Third Street and JT Connell Highway.

Click here for the latest lane closure information