Group proposes rebuilding 6/10 Connector as a boulevard

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The 6/10 Connector in Providence is one of the most well-traveled thoroughfares in Rhode Island, but the bridges that make up the interchange are deteriorating.

Moving Together Providence, a public transportation advocacy group, is now proposing a solution, saying they’ve found a cheaper and more neighborhood-friendly way to repair the bridges.

As its name implies, the 6/10 Connector connects Routes 6 and 10 to I-95 and provides routes to downtown Providence, Federal Hill, Olneyville and the West End.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said the interchange hasn’t been fully repaired in decades. The state’s Department of Transportation is working to fix the problem, estimating it’ll spend approximately $400 million in state money on the repairs.

“Rhode Island is broke,” said James Kennedy of Moving Together Providence. “And the transportation funding we’re attempting to put towards rebuilding the highway is not money that we have.”

Kennedy’s group claims rebuilding the 6/10 Connector as a boulevard instead of a highway would not only be cheaper, but it would also make the area more friendly for pedestrians, cyclists, and bus riders.

“One of the things the connector does that we should stop it from doing is it forces everyone onto one road as a collector road. It kind of cuts off all the local streets,” Kennedy explained. “On the other hand, our proposal is to build a boulevard, and that would reconnect all the fabric of the neighborhoods around 6/10.”

Revamping the 6/10 Connector is part of the governor’s RhodeWorks plan, an effort to fix the state’s crumbling roads and bridges and pay for it by levying tolls on large commercial trucks.

The DOT said it’s considering Kennedy’s proposal. On Monday, a spokesperson for the agency said, “as we move through the process, we have to consider various design alternatives, and among those, a boulevard would be looked at, but we’re not at that stage of the process yet.”

Kennedy said he’s working with the city of Providence to schedule meetings about the proposal.

Visit Moving Together Providence’s website for more details.

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