Rhode Island DOT breaks ground on Newport Pell Bridge Ramps Phase 2 Project

July 20, 2021

New efficient ramp system will improve the connection between Newport's North End and the downtown area

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) recently joined state and local leaders to break ground for the Pell Bridge Ramps Phase 2 project, which will redesign the road network connecting to the Pell Bridge.

The project 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. With a smaller footprint, the new design also will spur economic development as it frees up approximately 25 acres of land, RIDOT says.

“Updating and modernizing the Pell Bridge Ramp network has been a topic of discussion for years,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said in a statement. “We’ve worked hard to move the project off the drawing board and make it a reality.”

The $84.9 million project was supported by a $20 million federal grant secured by Senator Jack Reed. An initial $10.9 million phase of the project is underway now to make a number of improvements along JT Connell Highway and Coddington Highway from Admiral Kalbfus Road to West Main Road in Middletown. The main portion of the project is the $74 million phase 2, which encompasses all the improvements at the ramp network. The first phase will be done by the end of this year and the newer second phase will be finished by the end of 2024.

Highlights of the project include:

  • Removing the elevated “highway to nowhere” that terminates near the Wayfinder Hotel and former Newport Grand/Newport Jai Alai property. This frees up several parcels for economic development opportunities.
  • Removing and relocating the Downtown Newport exit from the Pell Bridge. This will reduce an estimated 80% of rear-end and sideswipe crashes.
  • Building a park-and-ride lot and bike path to provide a connection to Downtown Newport near the Newport Visitors Center. This would connect to a series of bike lanes being built to the north as part of the Phase 1 project.
  • Removing a sharp curve to Admiral Kalbfus Road which will result in a 65% reduction in crashes.
  • Realigning the Farewell Street and America’s Cup Avenue intersection and installing a new signal to improve traffic flow and safety.
  • Converting the rotary at JT Connell Highway and Admiral Kalbfus Road into a modern roundabout, with lower speeds and pedestrian crossings on all approaches. The new design will reduce crashes by nearly two-thirds.
  • Installing a traffic signal and make other improvements at the intersection of Malbone Road and Girard Avenue, including pedestrian crossing features. These changes are expected to reduce up to 75% of crashes.

The Pell Bridge Ramps Phase 2 Project is made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT's ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island's transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair.

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SOURCE: Rhode Island DOT