NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — Changes will soon be coming to one of Rhode Island’s most well-known bridges.
Newport city officials, local lawmakers, and members of the Department of Transportation announced plans Monday to reconstruct ramps near the Pell Bridge. The goal of the project is to provide quicker access into Newport’s town center and to relieve traffic backups.
The project is part of a 10-year transportation project that will cost about $40 million.
According to RIDOT, preliminary plans include a complete removal of the viaduct infrastructure. In addition, four roundabouts would be built with the hope that traffic could move more seamlessly.
“The best way to improve our business clients is to create better infrastructure,” said Gov. Gina Raimondo. “By re-configuring the Pell ramps, Newport can also free up land for economic development.”
RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said the ramps were originally designed for a Route 138 project that never came to fulfillment.
“Through the RhodeWorks program, we are able to finally address the outdated bridges and traffic patterns at the Pell Bridge ramps,” he explained. “This project will not only achieve the goal of fixing bridges and improving safety, but also will utilize a design that frees up land for economic development in Newport.”
Approximately 40,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day.
Officials expect the project to get underway in 2019 and they hope to have it completed in 2022.