RIDOT and Congressional Delegation Break Ground for Providence Viaduct Northbound Project
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 today 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.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation in securing a $60.3 million federal INFRA grant for the project, RIDOT will do much more than just replace this bridge. This new configuration will vastly improve the crippling 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.”
“After years of working to secure federal funding for this project it’s nice to see it moving to the fast lane and getting needed improvements underway. This project will make driving on the viaduct a lot safer and more efficient,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee, who advocated directly to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for the federal grant. “This is a smart federal investment that will pay off for Rhode Island and the entire Northeast corridor for decades to come.”
“This is a very proud day. I created the INFRA Program to make big-ticket infrastructure projects like replacing the Northbound Viaduct a reality without draining state coffers,” said Senator Whitehouse. The senator authored legislation establishing the INFRA Program, formerly known as the FASTLANE Program, in 2015 as a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “This project will create good construction jobs at a time when our economy really needs a boost and it will make travelling one of the busiest stretches of I-95 safer and more efficient for decades to come.”
“It’s a momentous day for Rhode Island as we kick off long-awaited transformational work that will improve safety and traffic flow on the I-95 Viaduct,” said Congressman Langevin. “This massive undertaking to enhance our busiest roadway is necessary and will positively impact the economic vitality of our state and spur job creation at a critical period. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to deliver more federal resources for our state so that we can address infrastructure needs head on.”
“This groundbreaking is a major step towards bringing our roads and bridges up to modern standards,” Congressman Cicilline said. “For too long, this heavily-trafficked road has been in dire need of improvements. I’m delighted that we were able to secure these federal funds to make this replacement and help ease traffic congestion. I look forward to seeing the completion of this project. Thank you Director Alviti and Mayor Elorza for spearheading this effort.”
“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,” said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. “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 (C-D) 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, one of the world’s largest engineering and construction companies. 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.
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.
All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.
The Providence Viaduct Northbound Project is made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT’s ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island’s transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair, promote economic development, and create jobs. Learn more at www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks