Governor Dan McKee, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline, and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), Acting Project Management Administrator Lori Fisette, joined state and local leaders today to create the Laying the foundation stone for the Pell Bridge Ramps phase 2 project. which will redesign the road network connecting to Pell Bridge to make traveling to Newport easy and safe.
The project includes a new efficient ramp system that will reduce traffic jams, in particular securing vehicles on the bridge from the Downtown Newport exit, and improve the connection between Newport’s North End and downtown. With a smaller footprint, the new design will also boost economic development as approximately 25 hectares of land will be freed up.
“This project is a huge win on many fronts,” said Governor McKee. “It will solve chronic security and congestion problems, provide a unique opportunity for economic growth and serve as an attractive gateway to Newport.”
“The Pell Bridge is the gateway to Aquidneck Island. Whether you are traveling to the Newport attractions or Naval Station, this project will make your trip safer and faster. It will also open about 25 acres for economic development, ”said Senator Reed, a member of the Budgets Committee who has worked for over a decade to allocate federal funding for this effort. In addition to funding the competitive BUILD Grant program of $ 1.5 billion, Reed secured a $ 5 million commitment in the 2005 Transportation Act (SAFETEA-LU) to provide the foundation for state and local planning and create the acquisition of rights of way. “It took many years and hands to get this project into this phase. The entire community has helped create an improved design that includes bike and footpaths as standout features.”
“This exciting project will provide smoother and faster access to Aquidneck Island and free land in a prime location for economic development,” said Senator Whitehouse. “My hope is that building new ramps is only the first step in upgrading the iconic Pell Bridge.”
“This long-awaited overhaul of the Pell Bridge Ramp System will reduce congestion and create economic opportunity in Newport,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “It is time to improve these roads and I look forward to seeing the great work RIDOT will do on this job.”
“We have to bring our roads and bridges into the 21st century,” said Congressman Cicilline. “The Pell Bridge Ramps project will not only modernize the road and bridge network, make travel easier and safer, it will also create jobs, free land for development and stimulate economic growth.”
“Upgrading and upgrading the Pell Bridge Ramp network has been a topic of discussion for years,” said Peter Alviti, Jr., director of RIDOT. “We worked hard to move the project off the drawing board and make it a reality.”
The $ 84.9 million project was supported by a $ 20 million federal grant backed by Senator Jack Reed. An initial phase of the $ 10.9 million project is currently underway to make a series of improvements along the JT Connell Highway and Coddington Highway from Admiral Kalbfus Road to West Main Road in Middletown. The main part of the project is the $ 74 million Phase 2, which includes all improvements to the ramp network. The first phase will be completed by the end of this year and the newer second phase by the end of 2024.
The highlights of the project include:
Removal of the elevated “Freeway to Nowhere” ending near the Wayfinder Hotel and the former Newport Grand / Newport Jai Alai property. This frees up several parcels for economic development opportunities.
Removing and relocating the Downtown Newport exit from the Pell Bridge. This will reduce an estimated 80 percent of rear and side wipe accidents.
Construction of a park and ride facility and bike path to connect to downtown Newport near the Newport Visitors Center. This would connect to a number of cycle paths being built in the north as part of the Phase 1 project.
Removing a sharp turn to Admiral Kalbfus Road, resulting in a 65 percent reduction in accidents.
Realignment of the intersection of Farewell Street and America’s Cup Avenue and installation of a new signal to improve traffic flow and safety.
Conversion of the roundabout on JT Connell Highway and Admiral Kalbfus Road to a modern roundabout with lower speeds and pedestrian crossings at all entrances. The new design will reduce crashes by almost two thirds.
Installation of traffic lights and other improvements at the intersection of Malbone Road and Girard Avenue, including pedestrian crossing. These changes are expected to reduce crashes by up to 75 percent.
In all construction projects, changes in the schedule and scope may arise depending on requirements, circumstances, knowledge and weather.
The Pell Bridge Ramps Phase 2 project is made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT’s ongoing commitment to repair structurally defective bridges and restore Rhode Island’s transportation infrastructure, promote economic development and create jobs. Learn more at www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks.