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Improving the 6/10 Connector: What’s next?
It was a big week for RIDOT officials and state leaders as they announced the official beginning of the 6/10 interchange reconstruction project.
“This is the day we get to work rebuilding this overpass. Which has been structurally deficient for decades,” Gov. Gina Raimondo told reporters at the project’s kick-off event.
The 6-10 connects Cranston with Providence and links interstates 95 and 295. The interchange was built in the 1950’s.
The DOT said it needed its first major repairs about 30 years ago, but they were never made.
So, what happens now?
The design, which is only 20 percent completed at this time, should be finished in one year, while the project undergoes federal environmental evaluations.
The DOT says crews likely will begin running tests this Spring with major construction starting later this year or Spring 2019.
Seven of the nine bridges involved in the interchange have been classified as ‘structurally deficient.’ DOT officials are especially concerned about the safety of the Huntington viaduct. The RIDOT says the bridges carry around 100,000 vehicles a day.
The $410 million contract was awarded to 6/10 Constructors, a joint venture of companies based in the Ocean State.
DOT officials say the proposed plan will have as little impact as possible on nearby streets and neighborhoods. Accelerated bridge construction methods similar to those used for recent “over the weekend” bridge replacements will also be utilized.
The project is part of the multi-billion dollar Rhode Works plan to fix the crumbling roads and bridges across the state. The 6/10 connector plan will account for 10 percent of the whole budget, costing $410 million.
“The single largest contract dollar amount that DOT has ever awarded,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti.
Several different designs were proposed in 2015 and 2016, including turning the highway into a surface boulevard, burying it in a tunnel and replacing ramps with a “halo” elevated rotary.
After much discussion, officials settled on a rebuild plan that keeps the general design of the highways with a few changes to help relieve heavy congestion in the area.
Highways lanes will dip beneath Broadway and Westminster Street instead of over them, to help reconnect Federal Hill with Olneyville Square.
The Tobey Street Bridge will be turned into a neighborhood street with the highway on-ramp further south to prevent congestion-causing weaving onto Route 10 South.
A new flyover ramp will be built to connect Route 10 North to Route 6 West.
In addition, 1.4 miles of bike lanes will be added across the 6-10 corridor.
The project is expected to be completed Fall of 2023.