PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is moving forward in its quest to fix the state’s crumbling infrastructure.
On Thursday morning, RIDOT celebrated the completion of the first phase of a nine-bridge overhaul that director Peter Alviti said has been 30 years in the making.
The rebuilt Hartford Avenue and Plainfield Street bridges became the first new bridges to open as part of the $410 million Route 6/10 Interchange project, according to Alviti.
“This is something that’s kind of the poster child for all of the roads and bridges in the state that have been under disrepair and neglected for decades,” he said.
Eyewitness News was there as the first cars moved over the new bridges.
Last fall, Route 6’s travel lanes were shifted to the north to accommodate the bridge reconstruction. Now that they’re are back open, those lanes will be moved to the south so RIDOT can demolish and replace the remaining halves of the bridges.
The eastbound traffic was moved on Thursday while RIDOT plans to move the westbound traffic on Friday.
“What that will do is it will bring all of the traffic on the south side of Routes 6 and 10 and allow us now to build new bridges on the north side,” Alviti added.
RIDOT said travel delays are possible during the transition.
In addition, RIDOT is temporarily closing the westbound off-ramp to Hartford Avenue. Traffic will be detoured to the Killingly Street exit to Route 6 East and finally, the eastbound Hartford Avenue exit, which will remain open. The westbound off-ramp is expected to reopen on Monday, Nov. 25, according to RIDOT.
Alviti predicts nearly 90% of the new infrastructure that RIDOT is building will be completed within four years, followed by cleanup and landscaping work.
The entire project is expected to take five to six years to complete. It’s all part of the RhodeWorks initiative that’s been a priority for RIDOT and Gov. Gina Raimondo.