Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Plain Street on-ramp schedule change

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has made a slight change in the schedule for upcoming Iway opening dates. A new on-ramp from Plain Street, near R.I. Hospital, to I-195 East will now open on Saturday, December 6, 2008. This ramp will replace the Friendship Street on-ramp to old I-195 East, which RIDOT closed in May.
A review of construction progress given the recent unseasonably cold weather and heavy rains prompted RIDOT to make this change. All other previously released dates remain the same. They include:
Friday, December 5: The fifth lane of the Washington Bridge eastbound is scheduled to open.
Saturday, December 6: The new Exit 20 from I-95 South to I-195 East is scheduled to open. New Exit 20 will be located on the right-hand side of the highway, as is customary for most highway ramps and interchanges. The current left-hand exit for old I-195 East will close at the same time, as will access to old I-195 Exits 1 (Downtown) and 2 (Wickenden Street).
RIDOT expects these changes, particularly the opening of new Exit 20, will result in traffic congestion on I-95 South during the first few days of this new traffic pattern. Additional congestion is possible on city streets as well. Motorists are advised to familiarize themselves with the location of the new exit and suggested detours for inbound and outbound traffic in light of the permanent closure of old I-195 East and its Exits 1 and 2.
More information regarding the Iway project can be found on RIDOT’s website, www.dot.ri.gov. Additional information is available by calling 511 or listening to the Highway Advisory Radio system on 1630 AM. Motorists also can contact RIDOT’s Customer Service department weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 222-2450.
All schedules remain weather-dependent and subject to change.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

RIDOT & AAASNE Urge Safety and Caution This Holiday Season

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a joyous time to share with family and friends. Unfortunately, on our nation’s highways, the celebration can turn into tragedy. That is why the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and AAA of Southern New England are joining the national efforts to encourage safe and healthy driving throughout the holiday season.
“This Thanksgiving, and throughout the year, we urge motorists to drive carefully, obey speed limits, designate a sober driver, and to always wear a seat belt,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. When lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury is reduced by nearly half.
“AAA’s annual Thanksgiving travel survey indicates that over 41 million Americans will travel over 50 miles away from home this holiday weekend,” said Lloyd P. Albert, AAA Southern New England Senior Vice President of Public and Government Affairs. “To make the holiday a safe one for all concerned, drive at a safe speed, leave plenty of time to get to your destination, and always use your safety belt,” he added.
Lewis reminded motorists to take these simple precautions during the holiday season:
• Plan ahead. If alcohol will be included in the festivities, designate a driver before you go out, call a cab or, if it is a home party, invite the guests to stay over. Don’t drink and drive. • If someone is impaired and won’t turn over the keys or if you see a drunk driver on the highways, pull over and dial *77 or 911. The call can be anonymous and it can save a life. • Always wear your seat belt, every trip, every time, no matter the type of roadway, the length of the trip or time of day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

RIDOT announces Iway opening dates

RIDOT announces Iway Opening Dates-
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced that it will open the next major segment of the Iway to traffic on Saturday, December 6, 2008. The new Exit 20 from I-95 South to I-195 East will now be located on the right-hand side of the highway, as is customary for most highway ramps and interchanges. The current left-hand exit for old I-195 East will close at the same time, as will access to old I-195 Exits 1 (Downtown) and 2 (Wickenden Street).
Also next week, RIDOT anticipates opening a new on-ramp from Plain Street, near R.I. Hospital, to I-195 East. This ramp is scheduled to open on Wednesday, December 3, 2008 and will replace the Friendship Street on-ramp to old I-195 East, which RIDOT closed in May. Additionally, the fifth lane of the Washington Bridge eastbound is scheduled to open on December 5. All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change.
RIDOT expects that these changes, particularly the opening of new Exit 20, will result in traffic congestion on I-95 South during the first few days of this new traffic pattern. Additional congestion is possible on certain city streets as well. Motorists are advised to familiarize themselves with the location of the new exit and suggested detours for inbound and outbound traffic in light of the permanent closure of old I-195 East and its Exits 1 and 2.
“Changes of this magnitude can lead to confusion and therefore congestion as people become accustomed to new ways of getting through and into and out of Providence,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “We encourage motorists to ‘Take the RIGHT way to the Iway’ for I-195 East and keep left for I-95 South. This is the most basic change with this new exit opening – the shifting of the exit from the left side of the highway to the right.”
As new traffic patterns become established, RIDOT expects motorists will experience an improved commute on I-95 and I-195. The goals of the Iway are to improve highway capacity, increase safety and reduce highway congestion in Rhode Island’s capital city.
These changes come a few weeks after the closure of the Broad Street on-ramp to I-95 South as well as the opening of a temporary on-ramp from Blackstone Street to I-95 South. With all these changes, RIDOT has developed a series of maps with suggested detours for those entering or leaving Providence depending on their point of origin (please see list of suggested detours below).
RIDOT is urging motorists to plan ahead and allow extra time, especially during the evening commute when the I-95 South to I-195 East movement is busiest. Those driving through or around the Providence area may wish to take I-295, Route 146 or Route 10.
These changes are part of the ongoing $610 million Iway project. RIDOT expects to open the remaining Iway segments, including I-195 West to I-95 North and South, in 2009. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2012, when all segments of old I-195 are demolished and local streets are restored.
RIDOT will be placing numerous signs along I-95 South and on city streets regarding these changes and suggested detours. Numerous maps of these changes are on RIDOT’s website, www.dot.ri.gov. Additional information is available by calling 511 or listening to the Highway Advisory Radio system on 1630 AM. Motorists also can contact RIDOT’s Customer Service department weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Suggested Detour Routes – Iway Ramp Opening – Fall 2008
INBOUND ROUTES
• I-95 South to I-195 East: Use new Exit 20 on the right-hand side of the highway. After merging with traffic from the new Plain Street ramp, motorists will merge with traffic on the Iway from I-95 North just prior to the new Providence River Bridge. I-95 South through traffic should keep left. • I-95 South to Downtown/Downcity/Courthouse District/Financial District: Take Exit 22A (Downtown) to the intersection with Francis Street. Turn right on Francis Street or proceed straight on Memorial Boulevard. Alternately, take Exit 21 (Atwells Avenue), turn left at light and proceed straight toward Downtown/Downcity. • I-95 South to Jewelry District: Take Exit 21 (Atwells Avenue) and go straight through light onto southbound service road. Follow past the closed Broad Street on-ramp to Point Street. Turn left, travel over the Point Street overpass and arrive in the Jewelry District near the Coro Building. Alternately, take Exit 19 (Eddy Street). At the end of the ramp, turn right onto Eddy Street and follow it under the highway overpass, through the intersection with Allens Avenue and straight toward Davol Square and the Jewelry District. • I-95 South to Wickenden Street/Fox Point/College Hill: Use new Exit 20 on the right-hand side of the highway and take Iway Exit 2 (Gano Street/India Street). At the end of the ramp, turn left toward Gano Street for College Hill, Hope Street and Fox Point. Turn right at the end of the ramp and follow India Street to South Water Street. Turn right onto Point Street to reach Wickenden Street, Benefit Street and South Main Street.
OUTBOUND ROUTES
• Downtown to I-95 North or South: Use Memorial Boulevard to reach I-95 or the Route 6/10 Connector near Providence Place mall. • Downcity to I-195 West, I-95 North or South: Use the existing on-ramp to I-195 West from Dorrance Street. • Downcity to I-195 East: Use the Delta Street bridge over Providence River from Memorial Boulevard to reach South Water Street. Follow signs on Wickenden Street. At the light, proceed straight onto South Main Street and use the on-ramp to I-195 East. Alternately, follow Eddy Street south, turn left on Point Street and turn right onto South Main Street and use the on-ramp to I-195 East. • Courthouse/Financial District to I-195 West, I-95 North or South: Use the existing on-ramp to I-195 West from Dorrance Street. Alternately, use Memorial Boulevard to reach I-95 or the Route 6/10 Connector near Providence Place mall. • West of the I-95 corridor to I-95 South: Drive west on Broadway or Westminster Street to reach Tobey Street and the Route 6/10 Connector. The ramp provides access to Route 6 West and Route 10 South only. Route 10 rejoins I-95 in Cranston. • Rhode Island Hospital area to I-195 East: Use the new Plain Street on-ramp for I-195 East (located just south of intersection of Point Street and soutbound service road). • In place of Broad Street on-ramp to I-95 South: Follow past the closed exit and turn left onto Point Street. After traveling over the Point Street overpass, turn right onto Richmond Street. Follow onto Eddy Street and bear left at the light for Allens Avenue. Turn right onto Blackstone Street, pass under the highway overpass and turn left onto the temporary ramp to I-95 South. • Jewelry District to I-195 West, I-95 North or South: Use Richmond Street to Clifford Street for the ramp to I-195 West. Alternately, use Richmond Street, Eddy Street and Allens Avenue to reach the Blackstone Street on-ramp to I-95 South. • Jewelry District to I-195 East: Use Point Street to South Main Street ramp to I-195 East.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

RIDOT setting up new traffic pattern on Wilbur Road Bridge

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it will establish a new traffic pattern on the Wilbur Road Bridge, which passes over Route 146 in Lincoln. Motorists can expect to encounter the new pattern – which only allows for one lane, two-way alternating traffic – early tomorrow morning, Friday, November 7.
RIDOT is making this change because a recent bridge inspection found damaged beams that apparently had been struck by a vehicle traveling south on Route 146. The new traffic pattern places traffic over the bridge’s center beams, which are not damaged. Additionally, the bridge will be posted for an 18-ton limit. The bridge is safe for passage with this new traffic pattern.
Motorists will encounter stop signs and a painted stop line at each end of the bridge. Traffic laws require that when two vehicles approach the bridge at the same time, the first to arrive at the stop sign has the right of way. The Department urges motorists to drive carefully through this new traffic pattern and to wait at the stop sign if an oncoming vehicle already has started crossing the bridge.
RIDOT will monitor traffic conditions at the bridge and make any necessary adjustments to the traffic pattern. The new traffic pattern will be in place until the bridge is rehabilitated as part of a Route 146 resurfacing project that RIDOT expects to go to construction in 2009.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Broad Street ramp to I-95 South closing on Friday

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding motorists that on Friday, November 7, 2008, it will permanently close the Broad Street on-ramp to I-95 South in Providence. The Department must take the ramp out of service to allow for continued construction of the Iway and the new right-hand exit from I-95 South to I-195, which RIDOT expects to open to later this year.
The closure will affect motorists who use the southbound service road alongside I-95 to reach the Broad Street on-ramp. Traditionally those heading south from the West End of Providence, including the Atwells Avenue, Broadway and Westminster Street areas, have used the Broad Street ramp. Additionally the ramp is sometimes used by those in the Downtown/Downcity areas upon leaving sporting and entertainment events at the Dunkin Donuts Center, Trinity Repertory Theater, and the Providence Performing Arts Center.
RIDOT has established a signed detour to I-95 South using a temporary ramp from Blackstone Street, which opened on October 29. From the area of the Broad Street ramp, motorists using this ramp will be able to follow detour signs along Point Street, Richmond Street, Eddy Street and Allens Avenue to reach the temporary Blackstone Street ramp.
“The Department has made every effort to provide an alternative on-ramp or off-ramp when making changes in connection with the Iway project,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “These changes are necessary as we continue improvements aimed at easing congestion and increasing safety for highway travel through Providence.”
In addition to the detour to the new Blackstone Street on-ramp, RIDOT is publishing a series of maps that provide suggested detours for those leaving Providence depending on their point of origin. Among them:
• Motorists west of the I-95 corridor: Drive west on Broadway or Westminster Street to reach Tobey Street and the Route 6/10 Connector. The ramp provides access to Route 6 West and Route 10 South only. Route 10 rejoins I-95 in Cranston. • Motorists in the Downtown area: Use Memorial Boulevard to reach I-95 South or the Route 6/10 Connector near Providence Place mall. • Motorists in Downcity area: Use the existing on-ramp to I-195 West from Dorrance Street.
RIDOT is urging motorists to plan ahead and allow extra time for getting home during the evening commute as changes in traffic patterns traditionally lead to periods of congestion during the first few days.
The closing of the Broad Street ramp is part of a series of changes this fall which will impact those who travel on I-95 and I-195, as well as those on Providence streets seeking access to and from the highways. Motorists have been using some of these exits and ramps, including the Broad Street on-ramp, for many years.
The access to I-95 South at Broad Street will be permanently replaced near the completion of the Iway project with a new ramp from Point Street to I-95 South. This ramp will be located just a few blocks south of the existing ramp.
The next major change related to the Iway is expected in December, when RIDOT plans to open the new 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. When that occurs, motorists will no longer be able to access Exits 1 (Downtown) and 2 (Wickenden Street) on the old portion of I-195.
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.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

RIDOT Launches Redesigned Website

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has launched a redesigned and reorganized website. RIDOT’s site now has many features in common with those at RI.gov, the award-winning Rhode Island web portal. The site continues to be located at http://www.dot.ri.gov.
RIDOT hopes that visitors will take a few minutes to explore the site, which has been reorganized. Its main navigation menu now includes several drop-down menus, allowing visitors quick access to a large number of RIDOT programs and topics.
Two major areas of the RIDOT site offering new features are Engineering and Traffic. Engineering is where visitors will now find Construction Projects, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Maps, and Intermodal Planning, in addition to topics previously found in the Engineering area.
The Traffic menu features links which go directly to RIDOT’s Transportation Management Center (TMC.) This is where visitors will find traffic cameras images, current travel advisories, and congestion mapping. The new Traveling RI link in the Traffic menu offers information on all Rhode Island interstate exits, and links to rail, transit and air services.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I-195 East Taunton Avenue Exit closes Wednesday for 16 days of rebuilding

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that I-195 East Exit 4, the Taunton Avenue/Riverside exit, will close to traffic on Wednesday morning, November 5 at 9:00 a.m. The exit ramp will remain closed for its rebuilding until Friday, November 21.
The exit leads to both Taunton Avenue (U.S. 44) and Veterans Memorial Parkway in East Providence.
While it is closed, RIDOT will rebuild the ramp between I-195 and where the ramp splits between Taunton Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway. As part of the work, RIDOT will provide new curbing, new pavement, new guardrail, new lighting and a new crash attenuator on the ramp.
RIDOT has specified official detours for use during the exit closure. Traffic headed to Riverside should use Exit 7 (Route 114/East Shore Expressway); traffic headed to Taunton Avenue should use Exit 8 (U.S. 6/Warren Avenue).

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