PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Just drive north through Providence along Interstate 95 and it’s easy to see why the area where the 6/10 Connector feeds onto the highway is one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the state.
Now, Rhode Island transportation officials have proposed a new project they said could reduce congestion in the area by 87%.
The R.I. Department of Transportation on Thursday unveiled plans for a new interchange project that would divide the highway into local and express lanes with two new viaducts.
The express lanes would carry through-traffic on I-95 North. The local lanes would allow drivers to access Memorial Boulevard, Atwells Avenue, Route 146, and the 6/10 Connector.
The idea behind the project is to eliminate so-called “weaving conflicts” caused by cars bearing right to get off I-95 crisscrossing with other cars trying to bear left in order to travel north on the highway.
The total price tag for the proposed project is $226.1 million. RIDOT said it has applied for $59 million in federal “FASTLANE” grants for the northbound viaduct. The state would kick in another $167 million, which RIDOT said would come from the new RhodeWorks truck tolls.
RIDOT said the state will find out next month about the grant money and will seek bids next year if it receives the necessary funding. Construction would start in 2018 and be scheduled for completion in 2021.