PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — I-95 and Route 146 in Providence saw significant delays throughout the morning on Tuesday due to a new traffic pattern instituted by the Rhode Island Department of Transpiration (RIDOT).
RIDOT began transitioning lanes on I-95 South at Exit 21 (Atwells Avenue) to a new bridge being built as part of the Providence Viaduct Replacement Project.
As a result, southbound traffic was split in half on Tuesday, with two lanes on the old bridge and two lanes on the new bridge. This led to confusion among drivers, causing traffic to get backed up on the highway.
On Tuesday night at 9 p.m., the RIDOT will revert the highway to the original traffic pattern and it will remain effective until they try again on Saturday morning.
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A few tweaks were made to avoid confusion during Tuesday evening’s rush hour.
To ensure a more successful switch up on Saturday, the RIDOT said it would work on better signage to explain what was going on to drivers and advertise more beforehand so people know before they hit the road.
“I think the first communication that went out on it was yesterday, which is much too fast for people to react and plan their lives,” said Director of the RIDOT, Peter Alviti.
RIDOT apologized for the traffic and said that the project would be worth is in the long run. They also advised commuters to give themselves some extra travel time and to reduce speed and drive safely through the work zones.
“This morning’s congestion was unacceptable,” according to Alviti.
Sometime next week, travel will be reduced to one lane on the old bridge and three lanes on the new bridge. RIDOT expects to have all travel lanes on the new bridge by early November, with the far-right lane designated for Exit 21.
RIDOT said project is expected to be completed in May of 2017.