RIDOT: Stay in your lane through viaduct construction zone

RIDOT workers making changes to the signs over I-95 at the Route 146 merge on Sunday night, October 23, 2016
RIDOT workers making changes to the signs over I-95 at the Route 146 merge on Sunday night, October 23, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Stay in your lane. That’s the advice the director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation has for motorists trying to navigate the new lane patterns on I-95 near the Providence Place Mall.

After an aborted attempt to implement the changes on Tuesday, RIDOT is re-introducing the lane changes this weekend as part of the construction work on the Providence Viaduct project.

The left two lanes of the highway are through traffic on I-95 South. The two right lanes are split off from those two; drivers wanting to take Exit 21 should stay all the way to the right. The lane just to the right of the division is also usable by through traffic.

“We added a couple of big overhead signs that clearly show two lanes on one side of the media and one lane to the right of the median, all going to 95 South,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said Sunday. “And we’ve added another variable sign right at the split that basically says stay in your lane.”providence-viaduct-phase-1

But some motorists on Sunday were still clearly confused. Eyewitness News drove through the area three times Sunday and spotted drivers stopping in the lane of travel and cutting each other off as they neared the lane split.

But Alviti said that the traffic flow, although still tentative, was an improvement from Tuesday’s disaster of a first attempt.

“It’s noticeably better,” he said, “more people are staying in their lane than they were on Tuesday and we hope with this messaging and additional signage we’ll be able to make that happen tomorrow morning.”

The lane rearrangement will last one week before it’s replaced by another version as the construction project progresses, but Alviti said that there will still be three lanes for through traffic on the highway.