RIDOT announces Pawtucket Avenue/I-195 bridge replacement

First phase begins March 31

EastBayRI.com ·

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation's announced it will soon begin the replacement of the Pawtucket Avenue Bridge over Interstate 195. To complete the work as quickly as possible and minimize impact to motorists, pedestrians and area businesses, the Department will be using accelerated bridge construction methods to replace it in just four months. Using traditional construction methods, it would have taken two years to complete the work.

To complete the work in the 120-day compressed timeframe, RIDOT will institute a number of traffic pattern changes. Lane restrictions for both the bridge and I-195 will be in place throughout the duration of the project. The most disruptive restrictions will take place during a series of eight weekend closures, the first scheduled to begin on Friday, March 31. RIDOT strongly recommends motorists plan ahead, provide extra travel time and consider alternate routes.

Originally built in 1959, the Pawtucket Avenue Bridge is located between Warren Avenue and Grosvenor Avenue and carries 23,000 vehicles per day. It is one of the most heavily traveled bridges in East Providence.

"Although much different than the rapid bridge replacement project we finished last fall in East Providence, this bridge shares the same fate - it had deteriorated to the point where we had to install timber blocks to help support it and keep it open," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. "Our RhodeWorks program provides the funding for us to rapidly erase bad bridges like this from our landscape, and, more importantly, brings Rhode Island's bridges into a state of good repair so they never reach such advanced states of deterioration."

Below is specific closure information for the bridge, I-195 and nearby highway on- and off-ramps:

Pawtucket Avenue Bridge

Weekend Closures: The bridge will be closed to all traffic. The closure details are as follows:
Bridge closed from 7 p.m. Friday, March 31 through 6 a.m. Monday, April 3.
Traffic on Pawtucket Avenue will be directed to follow a signed detour using Grosvenor Avenue, Broadway and Warren Avenue
The I-195 West on-ramp, located just north of the bridge, will be closed
Pedestrian access may be limited, but flaggers will be present to aid anyone needing to walk across the bridge
Duration of Project: RIDOT will close the western side of the bridge and establish two-way traffic on the other side. The closure details are as follows:
Lane restriction in effect as of April 3, following the reopening of the bridge after the first weekend closure
Reduce the number of travel lanes from four to two
Left turns for Pawtucket Avenue northbound to I-195 West on-ramp, located just north of the bridge, will not be permitted (follow signed detour using Warren Avenue)
Two-way traffic maintained during peak travel periods; overnight lane closures and detours are possible

I-195 East and West

Weekend Closures: Lane closures and lane shifts will be needed. The closure details are as follows:
I-195 reduced from three travel lanes to two in each direction from 7 p.m. Friday, March 31 through 6 a.m. Monday, April 3
Auxiliary lanes in both directions for on- and off-ramp traffic will be closed
All traffic will shift onto I-195 eastbound travel lanes to allow for safe demolition of the bridge over westbound lane
Duration of Project: Lane closures and lane shifts will be needed. The closure details are as follows:
All lanes will shift to the right effective Monday, April 10
The right lane will become an exit-only lane on I-195 East at Exit 7 effective Monday, April 10. There will be only two through lanes on this part of the highway.
Another lane shift planned for late Spring

I-195 Ramps

Weekend Closures: Merging distances will be reduced for traffic exiting and entering the highway just east of the bridge. The closure details are as follows:
The East Shore Expressway on-ramp will be reduced from two lanes to one
With auxiliary lanes closed on the highway, traffic entering I-195 West from the East Shore Expressway will have to stop and yield before entering the highway
The exit for East Shore Expressway from I-195 East (Exit 7), located immediately after the work zone, will remain open for vehicles in the right travel lane
Duration of Project: Lane closures and lane shifts will be needed. The closure details are as follows:
Today there are two lanes for the East Shore Expressway/Route 114 to Barrington on I-195 East at Exit 7. The far right lane will be closed effective Monday, April 10
The highway will be restriped to include two through lanes and one exit-only lane at Exit 7. The center lane will have the option of exiting or continuing through on I-195 East

The second weekend closure is scheduled to take place the following week, April 7-10. Additional closures are scheduled to take place in late April/early May, early June and early July. All weekend closures will follow the same schedule (7 p.m. Friday - 6 a.m. Monday). RIDOT has established steep fines in its contract language to prevent the closures from extending into the morning commuting hours each Monday. Additionally, there is a $20,000 per day incentive/disincentive provision to encourage the contractor to reduce the overall closure time or to assess a penalty beyond the 120-day period.

Maps of recommended detour routes, including turn-by-turn directions, will be posted on RIDOT's website at www.ridot.net/detourmaps.

All dates are weather-dependent and subject to change. To sign up for weekly updates on this or other RIDOT projects around the state, contact help@ridot.net. Visit www.dot.ri.gov or follow RIDOTnews on Facebook or Twitter for timely information on construction projects and traffic conditions.

This story was originally posted by EastBayRI.com. Click here to view the original story in its entirety.


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