Pell Bridge median construction underway

The Newport (R.I.) Pell Bridge. (WPRI-TV)

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The two center lanes of the Newport Pell Bridge are now closed due to construction of a permanent median barrier.

According to transportation officials, the plan for the barrier has been in the works for more than a decade.

Eyewitness News toured the construction site on Tuesday and the project is about 25 percent complete.

Road replacement construction at the base bridge on the Newport side has been going on for three weeks, but this week crews switched their main focus to installing the median barrier.

Crews worked from 6 a.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday — and with crews returning overnight the median should be halfway done by Wednesday morning.

For those pushing for the barrier, the sign of progress is a relief — especially for the loved ones of the driver killed in a head on collision in 2011.

And as work continues, staff members at the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority are helping inform drivers on traffic by using Twitter and Facebook alerts.

Officials expect the barrier to be fully installed by Friday — while the entire bridge project is slated to be finished May 1st.

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