Monday, April 30, 2012

DOT Answers: Timing adjusted at Routes 1 and 78 in Westerly


The Providence Journal - April 29, 2012
Dana Alexander Nolfe

Q: Every day I travel on Route 78 into Westerly. The light at the junction of Route 78 and Route 1 only allows a few cars to turn left from Route 78 onto Route 1 towards Dunn’s Corner. I see cars make the light and then a few cars run the yellow light. This is followed by one or two cars running the red light. Traffic is backed up onto Route 78. Why is the light so short? Can it be set to allow a few more cars to make the turn?

— Bil D.

A: The traffic signal at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 78 in Westerly has been reviewed by RIDOT engineers and, while it was operating correctly, they adjusted the timings.

The clocks that control the traffic signals at the intersections of Route 1 at Route 78 and Airport Road at Stop & Shop Driveway were found to be synched correctly. These two locations operate in coordination.

The new setting will give more time during the afternoon peaks and should decrease traffic back-ups at this busy intersection.

What’s going on at Pell Bridge toll plaza?

Q: What are the specifics of the major construction occurring at the Pell Bridge toll plaza? Four toll lanes are closed and under some type of repair. I can’t find any information about it.

— Jon M.

A: Our friends at the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) tell us this: As part of RITBA’s continuous customer improvement modernization, the construction you mention is the installation of Open Road Tolling (ORT) at the Jamestown toll plaza.

Many of our EZ-Pass customers have expressed a desire to travel through the Newport-Pell toll plaza without passing through a gated lane.

ORT will allow EZ-Pass customers to have a single lane in each direction through which they can travel at highway speed (40 mph on Route 138).

As part of this improvement, a tunnel is being placed under the toll plaza to create a safe passage for RITBA employees to get to work stations on the far side of the plaza.

The work schedule is very aggressive with the ORT lanes scheduled to be open in time for this summer’s Tall Ships and America’s Cup events.

Dana Alexander Nolfe, chief public affairs officer for the state Department of Transportation, answers questions of general interest posed by Journal readers about state roads and other state transportation matters. Questions are answered in the order they appear, and there may be a delay in responding. The DOT is responsible for the state’s transportation infrastructure, which includes highways, bridges, traffic signals and bikeways. To ask a question that would also be of interest to other readers, send a letter to Ask RIDOT, Features Department, The Providence Journal, 75 Fountain St., Providence, RI 02902.

Monday, April 16, 2012

DOT ANSWERS: Concerned about signage on Route 14 at 295

DOT ANSWERS: Concerned about signage on Route 14 at 295
The Providence Journal - April 15, 2012

Dana Alexander Nolfe





Q: I find it hard to send people to Pawtucket by either Route 122 or Route 146. The connection to Route 95 North is not well marked. Could something be done to improve this very important route? I also question the design of the concrete islands at some intersections. An example would be Route 14 at IRoute 295 at the Johnston/Cranston border. If there is a lot of traffic, the left turn onto Route 295 South is blocked by the straight ahead traffic. Sometimes several left turn possibilities are wasted, leading to heavier traffic. This blockage also causes difficulties with traffic coming out of the gas station. The traffic can also cause a backup at Comstock Parkway.
— Bob S.
A: There are many types of signs that can be installed along roads to help guide and direct travelers to and from major routes like Route 122, Route 146 and Route 95. The federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) includes standards and guidance regarding just where and how these signs should be installed by the state and local agencies responsible for each road.
RIDOT Customer Service office, reachable at (401) 222-2450 or CustomerService@dot.ri.gov  , is always available to check specific locations you’d like the department to investigate.
Concrete islands are often used near and within intersections to help both channel and separate conflicting traffic patterns. This can improve traffic safety and efficiency.
The concrete islands that are installed on Route 14 at its intersections with the Route 295 on- and off-ramps were originally installed for these reasons. If the concrete island in the middle of Route 14 to the west of the Route 295 South ramps were eliminated, it would be easier for an eastbound motorist on Route 14 to inadvertently enter the off-ramp from Route 295 South in the wrong direction.
You also mention that at this site during peak travel periods occasionally left-turning traffic cannot reach the left-turn lane to enter Route 295 South due to a queue of traffic on Route 14 that is continuing straight through the intersection. This queue of traffic might be mitigated by revising the traffic signal timings at the intersection.
Dana Alexander Nolfe, chief public affairs officer for the state Department of Transportation, answers questions of general interest posed by Journal readers about state roads and other state transportation matters. To ask a question that would also be of interest to other readers, send a letter to Ask RIDOT, Features Department, The Providence Journal, 75 Fountain St., Providence, RI 02902. You can also e-mail your question to cars@providencejournal.com  . Please put “Question for the DOT” in the subject field.

Monday, April 2, 2012

DOT ANSWERS: Dean St. traffic signal now fine-tuned; a different Providence dunk

DOT ANSWERS: Dean St. traffic signal now fine-tuned; a different Providence dunk
The Providence Journal - April 1, 2012

by Dana Alexander Nolfe







Q: Since the state DOT recently did a construction project on Dean Street at the top of the Route 10 exit ramp, the traffic lights are out of sync. The ramp backs up in the morning. The traffic light remains red for the ramp even when there is no traffic on Dean Street. Something needs to be corrected with the light controls.
— Vito A.
A: The traffic signal delays you experienced were due to the installation of new traffic signals. Once the project was completed and the vehicle detection function became operational, the department was able to fine tune and coordinate these two closely spaced traffic signals.
The volume of traffic that uses these intersections during the peak hours, however, may push the limits of the existing road’s capacity. Widening the bridge over Routes 6 and 10 and thereby providing more lanes along Dean Street would alleviate the congestion, but is unlikely to occur because of the department’s limited economic resources.
Wickenden dip on agenda
Q: When is the dip in the middle of the intersection of Wickenden Street and
South Main Street going to be fixed? —
Debbie H., Barrington
A: The dip you mention is due to differing road levels or grades where the eastbound and westbound legs of Wickenden Street meet the new off-ramp at South Main Street. This is a temporary condition and will be addressed in an upcoming construction contract.
RIDOT is working with the City of Providence and local residents to rebuild the city’s roads where the old I-195 used to be. As part of this project, this intersection will be reconstructed and the dip will be eliminated.
Because this is a high volume intersection, the construction process will be done in phases so that motorists can to continue to use this portion of road while it is under construction.
Dana Alexander Nolfe, chief public affairs officer for the state Department of Transportation, answers questions of general interest posed by Journal readers about state roads and other state transportation matters. Questions are answered in the order they appear, and there may be a delay in responding.
The DOT is responsible for the state’s transportation infrastructure, which includes highways, bridges, traffic signals and bikeways. To ask a question that would also be of interest to other readers, send a letter to Ask RIDOT, Features Department, The Providence Journal, 75 Fountain St., Providence, RI 02902. You can also e-mail your question to cars@providencejournal.com  . Please put “Question for the DOT” in the subject field. Questions or complaints of a specific nature should be posed to the DOT directly and will not be answered in this column.

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