Beginning today, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is making changes to ease congestion caused by the reconstruction of the Pell Bridge Ramps in Newport, in order to improve traffic flows through the project.
"We apologize for the inconveniences that the project is creating, and from the first day we have been working continuously to put in place improvements that mitigate this inconvenience," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. "During last week our teams improved traffic signal timing, added signage, and amended traffic patterns in a way that has provided some relief to the congestion. The project management team will implement more changes in the days ahead to further improve traffic flow, create less confusion for visitors, and will generally make conditions safer and more efficient while we construct the new and improved gateway to Newport."
By the evening commute on January 3, RIDOT will change the traffic signal at the intersection of Admiral Kalbfus Road and Halsey Boulevard, located next to the former Newport Grand. This intersection is used by drivers coming from Naval Station Newport or the roundabout, and those coming from West Main Road, going to the Pell Bridge or Downtown Newport.
RIDOT will install a new traffic signal for drivers coming from Downtown Newport on JT Connell Highway going to the Pell Bridge. The traffic signal will be located at the intersection of the new JT Connell Connector Road where it meets Halsey Boulevard, where there is a stop sign now.
By Friday, January 13, RIDOT will install several new pathfinding signs throughout the project area that will clearly show drivers how to reach major destinations such as Downtown Newport, the Navy Base, the Pell Bridge and West Main Road heading to Middletown and Portsmouth. These signs will be installed to help mitigate some of the confusion and disorientation that occurs from drivers experiencing new traffic patterns.
"We know that during construction, projects of this magnitude and complexity can create challenges and some temporary inconvenience to commuters in their vicinity, but we are always working to make the process as painless as possible," Alviti said. "We assure you that some inconveniences are both necessary and temporary in order to make the space we need available to build the new and much improved infrastructure that will make traveling around Newport more pleasant and create an unprecedented opportunity for economic growth for Newport. We also thank the residents and visitors of Newport for their patience and cooperation while we make these game-changing improvements for the City and surrounding communities."
The $74 million Pell Bridge Ramps Phase 2 project is rebuilding the road network connecting to the Pell Bridge to make travel into Newport easy and safe. It includes a new efficient ramp system that will reduce congestion, especially the backup of vehicles on the bridge from the Downtown Newport exit, and improve the connection between Newport's North End and the downtown area.