I-195 Eastbound Washington Bridge 3-Lane Configuration to Begin for Morning Commute on April 10

In line with the previously announced initiative to establish three lanes of through travel on both sides of the Washington Bridge, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) unveiled plans today to commence alterations to the traffic flow on I-195 East, implementing three lanes of through travel. The restriping of the highway is scheduled to take place during the evening and overnight hours tomorrow, Tuesday, April 9, with the revised traffic pattern set to be in effect for the morning commute on Wednesday, April 10.

RIDOT is seizing upon a favorable weather forecast to execute the restriping of the highway, capitalizing on a window of clear weather before anticipated rainy conditions later in the week. The objective of these modifications is to alleviate congestion and reduce travel times for motorists traversing both directions of I-195, particularly those affected by the closure of the Washington Bridge westbound. Notably, there will be no alterations at this time for I-195 West, which will retain two lanes of travel.

For eastbound travelers, the forthcoming changes entail several key adjustments:

  • Lane widths will be reduced, with the left and center lanes measuring 10 feet wide, while trucks will be directed to utilize the far-right lane, which will be 11 feet wide. RIDOT will install signage mandating that trucks exclusively occupy the far-right lane.
  • The speed limit on I-195 East will be lowered to 40 mph.
  • Drivers are advised to maintain their lane and avoid distractions while driving.

RIDOT is launching an informational advertising campaign this week to apprise travelers of the new three-lane traffic configuration, leveraging print, broadcast, social media channels, and electronic message signs for dissemination.

Construction will persist to implement a three-lane traffic configuration for I-195 West traffic by or before April 22. Tonight, RIDOT will relocate the crossover point in East Providence approximately one-half mile closer to the bridge. Motorists need not alter their routes in response to this adjustment. Subsequent to establishing the three-lane configuration for eastbound drivers this week, RIDOT will install new median barriers before enacting the three-lane configuration for westbound traffic.

RIDOT, in conjunction with traffic engineering and structural engineering consultants, as well as Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) traffic experts, has affirmed that the eastbound bridge structure can accommodate the additional lane.

With the implementation of the three-lane configuration eastbound, traffic merging onto the highway from South Water Street and India Street will be required to merge with the right travel lane upon entry. This may result in delays for motorists utilizing this ramp during rush hour.

Upon full implementation of the three-lane configuration, RIDOT will remove the lane reduction on I-195 West, located just east of the East Shore Expressway near the state line, which was installed in early February. This modification will become redundant with the establishment of the three-lane configuration.

It’s important to note that the schedule is contingent on weather conditions and subject to potential adjustments.




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