Drivers seeing red with Providence Viaduct progress

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Those blue signs popping up on Rhode Island highways are intended to inform motorists if a project is on time and on budget. Now, one that was missing is finally on display and it’s not positive advertising for the state’s largest highway project.

Last week, a Target 12 Investigation revealed that the sign showing the status of the Providence Viaduct – which carries I-95 through the heart of Providence – was conspicuously absent.

The sign went up Thursday night, according to a Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) spokesperson, and it features two glaring red dots.

In an effort to be more transparent, RIDOT began erecting the signs, which feature green, yellow, or red dots. A green dot means the project is on track, yellow tells the public it is under six months behind schedule, and a red dot means it is delayed more than six months or over budget.

A Target 12 review of RIDOT data found the viaduct was at least 14 months behind schedule and $4 million over budget. At the time, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said the sign was coming and acknowledged the agency probably should’ve put that one up first since it’s the most widely traveled active project in the state.

“You can criticize, ‘why did you put these signs up before those?'” Alviti stated. “A lot of the signs that are going up are projects that we’re just starting under the new administration, and we wanted to shed a proper light on those right from the beginning because we want our personnel to be held accountable for what’s on those signs.”

The viaduct project began before Alviti became director. A RIDOT spokesperson told Target 12 the agency is on track to have signs up for all 200 projects across the state by December.