Rhode Island DOT breaks ground on Washington Bridge North project

Goal is to address the structural deficiencies of the westbound portion of the Washington Bridge

October 13, 2021 / 2 minute read
Rhode Island DOT breaks ground on Washington Bridge North project
Image: Rhode Island DOT

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) this week broke ground on the $78 million Washington Bridge North project.

The goal of the project is to address the structural deficiencies of the westbound portion of the Washington Bridge, which carries I-195 over the Seekonk River between East Providence and Providence. The project also includes a new off-ramp to support economic development opportunities and other improvements to address chronic congestion issues on the interstate.

RIDOT was able to secure a $25 million federal BUILD grant for this project. 

“The Washington Bridge has to be rehabilitated to keep it safe,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said in a statement. “And thanks to our Congressional delegation we can make additional, once-in-a-lifetime improvements at the same time that will clear up much of the daily traffic congestion along I-195 West and provide new connections for commuters and commerce.”

The bridge carries more than 96,000 vehicles per day and is one of the busiest sections of interstate highway in Rhode Island. It is the source of chronic congestion with backups often extending as far back as the Massachusetts state line, particularly during the morning rush hour. When the project is done, the average morning commute from the state line to I-95 will be trimmed by 40%, from 16 minutes to 9.5 minutes, RIDOT says.

Improvements being made as part of the Washington Bridge project include partial widening to provide five continuous lanes of I-195 westbound traffic over the bridge; a new bridge structure in East Providence to carry traffic from the Taunton Avenue/Warren Avenue/Veterans Memorial Parkway on-ramps over the new off-ramp to Waterfront Drive; and a new bridge structure to carry traffic from Gano Street in Providence onto I-195 westbound.

The Washington Bridge North project is a design-build project awarded to a joint venture of Barletta Heavy Division and Aetna Bridge Company along with VHB, the lead design firm. The project will finish in summer 2026.

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SOURCE: Rhode Island DOT

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