RIDOT to renumber I-295 exits

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. Department of Transportation officials say they will soon begin changing the exit numbers on I-295 as part of a larger renumbering project.

Eyewitness News first reported in March 2016 that RIDOT would be renumbering highway exit signs to comply with new federal regulations.

“Routes that have exit numbers on them that – they may not be sequential – that may be changed to mileage-based,” said Steven Pristawa, RIDOT’s state traffic and safety engineer.

As of this week, a contractor has been chosen and the materials are being ordered to change the numbers.

“Now it will be based on how many miles you’re into that road,” Pristawa said. “So exit 11 will now be exit 22.”

The work will begin on the Massachusetts side and go south from there.

Signs are expected to be switched starting in November and the project should take six weeks to complete. Officials say they don’t expect motorists to face any harsh delays.

“The signs are off to the side of the road, so it’s pretty easy to change without affecting travel lanes,” Pristawa said. “But when they do go overhead they’ll need to close lanes.”

RIDOT officials say they hope this will make it easier for drivers to plan their trips. “If you’re getting off at exit 60 and you’re passing exit 80, you know you have 20 miles left,” Pristawa said.

RIDOT said the total price for the change is $340,000, but this is just one phase of the state’s plan.

“By 2020, I think our entire system will have the new mileage-based exit numbers,” Pristawa said.

When the signs do begin to change, officials say they will keep the old exit numbers displayed for more than a year to make the transition easier.