Final lane shift to Providence Viaduct bridge goes smoothly

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — No serious problems were reported Thursday morning as the third and final lane on I-95 southbound was shifted over to the new Providence Viaduct bridge.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has been gradually shifting lanes off the aging, previous bridge and onto the newly built one. The split highway configuration led to some confusion among drivers and resulted in serious traffic backups.

All southbound lanes are now on the new bridge. The lane for Exit 21 remains on the far right, while the remaining three continue on I-95 southbound.Providence Viaduct lane shift phase III

The changes are part of the Providence Viaduct Replacement Project, which aims to increase safety and reduce congestion on the busy thruway by gradually replacing the bridges on both the northbound and southbound sides of the highway.

The $192 million 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.