Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Old Route 403 Bridge Deck Removal will continue tonight

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will continue demolishing the deck of the old Route 403 Bridge at Exit 7A over Route 4 tonight. The first half of the bridge’s deck was removed Sunday night.
The bridge deck demolition will be done during the limited hours of 8 – 11 p.m. Because the deck is made of concrete and steel, its solid construction makes for a noisy removal process.
“We apologize for any disruption this work may cause,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis.
Between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. crews will switch to less noisy operations. RIDOT will be working to remove loose concrete and steel, and cleaning all debris from the detoured Route 4 roadway.
Once the deck is removed the bridge’s girders will be taken down. This is expected to take two to three days. The final phase will demolish the concrete center pier and the bridge’s abutments.
Night work is done on this project to limit traffic delays and provide safety to both motorists and construction workers. Detours will be in place for motorists using Route 4 north and south in the vicinity of the project. The signed detour uses Route 2 (South County Trail).Construction updates as well as road openings and closings can be found on RIDOT’s website at www.dot.ri.gov . For further assistance RIDOT’s Customer Service office can be reached at 401-222-2450 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Temporary ramp to I-95 South opening tomorrow

Governor Donald L. Carcieri and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian joined representatives from the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, AMTRAK and MBTA for a briefing by Gilbane Construction on the construction of the intermodal transportation facility linking the Green State Airport with AMTRAK and MBTA commuter rail lines.
“With test piles complete and pile driving underway, we have reached a milestone in this project,” noted Governor Carcieri. “This project is the culmination of the work of many people and agencies, especially Mayor Avedisian, who recognize the significance that providing an easy link between air and rail transportation will have on Rhode Island’s economy.”
"I am so pleased that after years of planning and anticipating, construction of the Warwick Intermodal Train Station is underway," Mayor Avedisian said. "This project has enabled us to work closely with the business community to bring significant development and redevelopment projects to the Station District, bolstering our commercial business base. Completion of the intermodal facility will also mean fewer cars traveling along Post and Airport roads, reducing pollution and making it more convenient for our residents."
The project is a collaborative effort by the RI Airport Corporation, the RI Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration, involving AMTRAK and the MBTA.
Kevin Dillon, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, said, “The economic and environmental benefits of this project should be underscored. Economic development opportunities will increase for both the city of Warwick and the state. Commuter rail service will remove cars from the road, resulting in less congested highways and improved air quality. Additionally, the intermodal will be an asset in trying to attract air service as airlines recognize the importance of connectivity for their passengers.”
When completed, the $267 million dollar transportation hub will be the closest link to a major airport terminal in the nation. The Intermodal project will employ approximately 300 people during the peak of construction, and will involve a train platform, six level parking garage with 1,800 spaces for rental cars and 800 spaces for commuters, a 1,200 foot elevated enclosed skywalk to shuttle passengers to and from the airport and a hub for local and intercity bus services.
“This is an important transportation project for our state as it provides an extension of commuter rail south of Providence to both Warwick and Wickford, providing our customers with an alternative to the automobile in these times of high fuel prices while at the same time helping to improve our environment,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis.As construction progresses, the work is expected to be underway primarily between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. – although some work will be done at night. The construction is not expected to have any sizable impact on Amtrak service, since the work that impacts the track will be done within Amtrak schedules. Ultimately, the train will pass through and under the intermodal facility.

Old Route 403 Bridge Demolition will continue tonight

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will continue demolishing the old Route 403 Bridge at Exit 7A over Route 4 tonight. Work will consist of steel cutting in preparation for girder removal. The methods used, torch cutting or hand grinding, produce much less noise than the deck removal that took place over the weekend.
“Tonight's operations will produce standard industry noise such as backup alarms, but this is no different than the construction activities that we have been performing over the past three years,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis.
Half of the bridge’s deck was removed Sunday night. The Department anticipates the second half of the deck will be removed beginning tomorrow night. The girders will be removed after that. This is expected to take two to three days. The final phase will take down the concrete center pier and the bridge’s abutments.
Night work is done on this project to limit traffic delays and provide safety to both motorists and construction workers. The Department apologizes in advance for any inconveniences area residents or motorists might incur.
Project updates as well as road openings and closings can be found on RIDOT’s website at www.dot.ri.gov . For further assistance RIDOT’s Customer Service office can be reached at 401-222-2450 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Governor Carcieri Provides Update on Intermodal Transportation Facility Construction

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding motorists that tomorrow, October 29, 2008, it will open a temporary on-ramp from Blackstone Street to I-95 South in Providence. The ramp can only be reached by driving down Blackstone Street westbound from Allens Avenue.
RIDOT built this ramp to provide motorists with an additional option when leaving Providence for points south during construction of the Iway. Specifically, it will serve as the primary detour for those who now use the Broad Street on-ramp to I-95 South. RIDOT expects to close this ramp on November 7 to allow for continued construction of the Iway.
The Department urges motorists who utilize the Broad Street on-ramp to familiarize themselves with the location of the new ramp at Blackstone Street. RIDOT will be installing detour signs along the route from Broad Street to Blackstone Street. Additionally, the Department is installing a new traffic signal at the corner of Point Street and Richmond Street and is upgrading other traffic signals in the area to help maximize traffic flow along the detour route.
The opening of the new ramp at Blackstone Street and the closing next week of the Broad Street on-ramp are part of a series of changes this fall as RIDOT works to open new sections of the Iway to traffic. The changes will impact motorists who travel on I-95 and I-195, as well as those on Providence streets seeking access to and from the highways. Exits and ramps motorists have used for many years will be closing and changing locations.
Changes in traffic patterns traditionally lead to periods of congestion during the first few days as motorists become familiar with the new ramps and exits. Detailed detour maps for all changes can be found on RIDOT’s Web site at www.dot.ri.gov. Motorists may also contact RIDOT’s Customer Service office at 222-2450 on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

RIDOT opens new Route 403 to highway traffic

RIDOT opens new Route 403 to highway traffic Motorists can expect construction zones until the end of 2008 Governor Donald L. Carcieri joined the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today in a ceremony on the North Kingstown/East Greenwich line to preview the new Route 403 Relocation Project. During the overnight hours tonight, the Department expects to open the new road to highway traffic. This will begin with a temporary closure of a portion of Route 4 South, followed by the opening of Exit 7B to the new Route 403 in time for the morning commute.
Although more construction remains on the highway and associated ramps, the event marked the realization of the vision of linking Route 4 to the Quonset Business Park with a dedicated limited access highway. The 3,000-acre Business Park is the largest of its kind in Rhode Island and is undergoing a fast paced and successful transformation from a military installation to a first class business park with multiple platforms for new and expanding businesses and high wage job growth. The Quonset Business Park is home to 168 companies employing 8,574 individuals. The mix includes office and R&D, light and general manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, marine construction, and importing.
“This project to create a limited access highway serving the Business Park demonstrates Rhode Island’s commitment to becoming a better place to do business,” Governor Carcieri said. “It is also a reminder that highways are expensive to build and maintain. I urge Rhode Island voters to approve Question #1 on the November ballot, for transportation funding. Not only will those funds support bridge and highway work in our state, but they will pay for repairs and new buses for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority and assist the development of commuter rail service.”
The $130 million project began in 2000, and included construction of a new interchange at Post Road as well as a new highway interchange at Route 4. The opening of the new Route 403 will ease congestion on local roads in North Kingstown while providing the Quonset Business Park the amenity of quick and direct highway access to Route 4, which leads to I-95 and points south.
The new highway complements the Park’s other transportation infrastructure including port facilities, an airport and a freight rail line, which RIDOT augmented with the 2006 completion of the $225 million Freight Rail Improvement Project (FRIP).
“The new Route 403 and the FRIP project afford the Quonset Business Park with transportation solutions that not only will help the Park’s business to flourish, but help alleviate traffic on local roads and potentially limit truck traffic on Rhode Island highways through greater use of rail,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said.
With the opening of the new Route 403 to highway traffic, motorists should be advised that ongoing construction will be taking place on the new road. This includes a construction zone where two main segments of the highway meet near School Street in North Kingstown. Motorists may experience delays at this location, especially during peak commuting times for Quonset businesses.
At the same time RIDOT opens the new Route 403 at Exit 7B, it will close the original off-ramp for Route 403 and Davisville Road at Exit 7A. This ramp and bridge structure will be demolished as part of the project. The alignment of the new Route 403 means that motorists heading west on the new highway will no longer have direct access to Frenchtown Road. Motorists leaving the Quonset Business Park need to exit at Post Road and use Route 1 North or the old Route 403 to reach Frenchtown Road.
Also tomorrow, RIDOT will open a new access road to two-way traffic from Davisville Road to Frenchtown Road. Later this year RIDOT expects to further enhance access to this part of North Kingstown and East Greenwich with the opening of a new off-ramp from Route 4 South to Frenchtown Road. Currently motorists seeking access from Route 4 to Frenchtown Road are directed to use Exit 6 (Route 2/South County Trail) as a temporary detour.In the near future RIDOT expects to open two other ramps in conjunction with the Route 403 Relocation Project, both of which represent movements that were not part of the configuration of the original Route 403. These include a ramp from Route 4 North to Route 403 East and from Route 403 West to Route 4 South. These will provide motorists coming from or driving to points south the option of using an all-highway route to and from Quonset as opposed to Route 1 through Wickford – further lessoning traffic on secondary roads.

Monday, October 20, 2008

RIDOT announces Iway schedule for remainder of 2008

All openings, closings, and construction are weather permitting Many changes are in store for motorists traveling in and through Providence in the coming weeks in connection with the Iway, also known as the I-195 Relocation Project. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced scheduled openings and closings related to Iway construction for the remainder of 2008. All openings, closings and construction are weather permitting.
The changes will impact motorists who travel on I-95 and I-195, as well as those on Providence streets seeking access to and from the highways. Exits and ramps motorists have used for many years will be closing and changing locations. Those who do not need to travel through Providence during the first few days of a major traffic pattern are urged to seek alternate routes such as Route 10 or I-295.
“We ask motorists to become familiar with the changes and to drive carefully when driving on highways in Providence,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “With a change of this magnitude, delays can be expected as motorists become familiar with new traffic patterns.”
These changes are necessary for RIDOT to continue to open sections of the Iway project, with the overall goal of improving travel in Providence. RIDOT expects all highway traffic to use the Iway in late 2009. The project will be finalized in 2012 with demolition of the old I-195.
The most significant change this fall will be the opening of a new ramp from I-95 South to I-195 East. Unlike the current left-hand exit, this new off-ramp will be on the right-hand side of the highway. With the opening of this new ramp, expected in December, all access to old I-195 East will be closed and all eastbound traffic on I-195 will use the Iway.
The changes for the remainder of 2008 are as follows:
Wednesday, October 29: RIDOT will open a temporary ramp from Blackstone Street to I-95 South, accessible only from Allens Avenue. This ramp is being built to provide additional access to I-95 South for Providence outbound traffic due to ramp closures, including the closure of the Broad Street on-ramp (see below).
Friday, November 7: RIDOT will close the Broad Street on-ramp to I-95 South. This is necessary to allow for final construction of the new ramp from I-95 South to I-195 East. At the conclusion of the Iway project, RIDOT will construct a permanent replacement on-ramp to I-95 South at Point Street. RIDOT offers the following suggested detours due to the closure of the Broad Street on-ramp:
• Motorists west of the I-95 corridor can follow a signed detour using Point Street, Richmond Street, Eddy Street and Allens Avenue to the new temporary ramp from Blackstone Street.
• Motorists further west from the I-95 corridor or closer to the Route 6/10 Connector can follow Westminster Street or Broadway to the Route 6/10 Connector at Tobey Street. The ramp provides access to Route 6 West and Route 10 South only. Route 10 South connects to I-95 North and South in Cranston.
• Motorists in Downcity who may have used the Broad Street on-ramp should use the Dorrance Street on-ramp to old I-195 West or Memorial Boulevard to either I-95 South or the Route 6/10 Connector.
Early December: RIDOT will open a new on-ramp from I-95 South to I-195 East. This right-hand exit will be signed as Exit 20 and replace the current left-hand Exit 20 to old I-195. It is RIDOT’s intention to close access to old Exit 20 just prior to opening new Exit 20. This switch will occur during overnight hours when traffic is lightest and the new ramp will be open in time for the morning commute. Motorists on I-95 South will no longer be able to access Exits 1 (Downtown) and 2 (Wickenden Street) on the old portion of I-195.
RIDOT offers the following suggested detours due to the closure of old Exit 20 from I-95 South:
• For Downcity, use Exit 22 (Downtown) to Memorial Boulevard or Exit 21 (Atwells Avenue).
• For the Courthouse District, use Exit 22 (Downtown) to Memorial Boulevard.
• For the Jewelry District, use Exit 21 (Atwells Avenue) and follow the southbound Service Road to Point Street or use Exit 19 to Eddy Street.
• For College Hill/Fox Point/Lower East Side areas, motorists should take new Exit 20 to the Iway and use Exit 2 (India Street). India Street offers access to Gano Street on the west and South Water Street to the east.
• Motorists on I-95 South who miss the new Exit 20 should use Exit 18 (Thurbers Avenue) to reverse direction and access the Iway at Exit 19 from I-95 North.Given the many changes happening in the coming days and weeks, RIDOT encourages motorists to plan ahead as much as possible and carefully observe signage regarding changes. RIDOT will continuously provide information to motorists with all information, including maps, on the Department’s web site at www.dot.ri.gov. Additionally, information on changes will be available by calling 511 and by listening to the Highway Advisory Radio System on 1630 AM. Motorists may also call RIDOT’s Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

East Main Road (Route 138), Portsmouth to be striped as a three lane roadway

East Main Road in Portsmouth, between Turnpike Avenue and Boyds Lane, will be striped as a three-lane roadway beginning October 20, 2008. Once the change is complete, the roadway will have one lane in each direction, and a wide turning lane for those waiting to make left turns. The work begins Monday night when the old roadway striping is ground off, and will continue Tuesday and Wednesday nights with the application of the new striping.
Early this spring, a resolution from the Portsmouth Town Council asked RIDOT to study the possibility of limiting the roadway to two lanes. In May, the State Traffic Commission approved RIDOT’s recommendation for a three-lane roadway, based on the amount of traffic and the number of driveways and businesses in the area.
The plan has been endorsed by the Town Council, Senator Charles J. Levesque, Representatives Joseph N. Amaral, Raymond E. Gallison, Jr., and John J. Loughlin, Jr., Portsmouth Police Chief Lance Hebert, School Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi and the Portsmouth School Committee.
An average of 13,400 vehicles travel through the area every day, often at speeds faster than the posted 25-35 miles per hour. There were 104 accidents on the roadway in the last three years for which statistics are available (2004, 2005, 2006).
National studies have found that when roadways are reduced from four lanes to three lanes, auto accidents decline by one-third, and pedestrian safety greatly increases. Once the East Main Road striping is complete, RIDOT will study the area with the new configuration, and determine if a change in the speed limit should be made.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

RIDOT opens India Point Park Pedestrian Bridge, new bridge is six times wider than the original bridge

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today dedicated the new India Point Park Pedestrian Bridge, a park-like span that connects the Fox Point neighborhood in the East Side of Providence with India Point Park on the Providence waterfront. The $9.5 million bridge was built as part of the Iway project.
The new bridge is 48 feet wide, six times wider than the original bridge, and spans I-195 just west of the Washington Bridge. The bridge also is an integral part of the Iway, with on- and off-ramps in the India Point Park area passing underneath the bridge.
Despite the volume of traffic passing underneath the bridge, the India Point Park Bridge is a quiet place, especially on the India Point Park side where a series of stairs and ramps serves as a buffer between the highway and the park. The bridge was constructed with numerous planters in which a variety of small trees, shrubs and other landscaping will be planted next spring, further enhancing the park-like feel of the bridge.
“The new bridge is not just a means to get from the East Side to the waterfront,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “The bridge is an integral part of both the neighborhood and the park.”
RIDOT built the new pedestrian bridge in the same location as the original span, which was built in 1971. While functional, the old bridge was only 8 feet wide and enclosed in an unattractive, chain-link fence. Construction of the Iway required the bridge to be removed because its piers would have impeded the alignment of I-195 to the Iway.
RIDOT demolished the old span in 2005. Construction of the new bridge was challenging due to the complexity of building the ramp structures on the southern end of the bridge and successful efforts to preserve a large red oak tree on the northern end.
The bridge features a number of amenities including built-in concrete benches and column-like lighting. A large compass rose is set in the bridge at its southern end. Upon arriving in the park, pedestrians will find many new improvements including new sidewalks, walkways, landscaping, and parking lots. These improvements also were made as part of the Iway project.
“In Providence, we understand that a great quality of life and economic growth go hand-in-hand. We have worked hard during the re-routing of I-195 to make sure that we seize all opportunities for both,” Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline said. “The new India Point Park Bridge is the result of good planning, good partnerships and having the right priorities.”
A community celebration for the India Point Park Pedestrian Bridge is being organized by the Friends of India Point Park and will take place Saturday, October 18 from 1 - 4 p.m. The celebration will include music, food, face painting and other family-friendly activities. The event will begin with a procession across the bridge starting on George M. Cohan Boulevard, on the Fox Point side of the bridge.
“We are thrilled to have the park connected once again to our neighborhood and our city,” noted Heather Florence of the Friends of India Point Park. “We hope it will encourage even more people to enjoy this unique stretch of shoreline in the Ocean State.”
Also at the dedication, RIDOT announced the opening of India Street westbound. This new road allows greater access to the Providence waterfront and to the Wickenden Street area via South Water Street. The new road also allows access to the South Main Street on-ramp to I-195 East.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Simmonsville Avenue Bridge in Johnston now restricted by weight

Vehicles on the Simmonsville Avenue Bridge, over Simmons Brook in Johnston are now restricted by weight. The bridge carries approximately 5,000 vehicles per day.
RIDOT will limit weight on the bridge to 11 tons for two axle vehicles, 15 tons for 3 axle vehicles, and 22 tons for 5 axle vehicles. Signs announcing the posting will be installed next week.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

RIDOT Reminds Motorists: Don't be Another Needless Statistic

In observance of “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day” which this year falls on Friday, October 10, 2008, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding all motorists not to be another needless statistic on our state highways. In 2007 69 lives were lost due to vehicular crashes.
“Here in Rhode Island, we are joining the national effort to help save lives,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “Through proper education and awareness of our state’s motoring public on October 10 and throughout the year, we are striving to reduce the number of lives lost on our roadways.”
Lewis noted that many factors contribute to motor vehicle crashes including driver behavior. As such RIDOT is reminding all motorists to obey speed limits, designate a sober driver, and to always wear a seat belt, which is the best line of defense in a motor vehicle crash.
For more information on “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day,” visit: http://www.brakesonfatalities.org/.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pippin Orchard Road closes to through traffic after October 14

Pippin Orchard Road in Cranston, between Hope Road and Scituate Avenue, will not close to through traffic until after the Columbus Day weekend. At a Tuesday, September 30 pre-construction meeting, RIDOT and contractor J. H. Lynch and Sons agreed that in the interest of local businesses, the road will not close to through traffic until Tuesday, October 14 or later.
Once the road segment is closed to through traffic, it will remain closed until before Thanksgiving for repair of a culvert over Furnace Hill Brook. A culvert is similar to a bridge but less than 10 feet in length. The culvert repair is expected to cost $199,888.50.
Pippin Orchard Road south from Scituate Avenue, and north from Hope Road, will continue to be open to local traffic through the period. Once the closure is in place, through traffic will be directed to use Comstock Parkway and Olney Arnold Road.

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