Final southbound viaduct shift to be in place Thursday morning

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The lanes of Interstate 95 southbound will finally be shifted for good off of an aging bridge and onto the new Providence Viaduct bridge Thursday morning, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

The final traffic pattern shift was delayed after Tuesday’s rainstorms. Now, overnight lane closures will begin Wednesday night about 9 p.m., starting at Exit 23 (Charles Street). All the lanes are set to be reopened by 6 a.m. Thursday after the final lane is shifted onto the new structure, and the “split highway” configuration will end.

Providence Viaduct lane shift phase IIIIf you’re taking this route, you’ll still want to slow down through this area and work zones, RIDOT officials say. Some overnight lane closures will continue through the end of the year as bridge construction is finalized.

The $192 million viaduct project has been ongoing since 2013. The entire project is expected to be completely finished in 2021.

When the DOT first tried to implement the split highway in mid-October, dozens of motorists thought they’d be forced to exit and a massive traffic jam ensued. Bigger signs and lane markers followed.

Carrying some 220,000 vehicles every day, the Viaduct is one of the busiest stretches of interstate highway on the East Coast.