NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — As the R.I. Department of Transportation (RIDOT) works to ease traffic congestion both on and around the Newport Pell Bridge, Rep. Lauren Carson is calling for more communication on the project.

Rep. Carson sent a letter requesting that RIDOT take several steps to improve communication about traffic changes. 

“The new ramps are causing confusion and the existing signs are just not clear or plentiful enough,” Rep. Carson said. “Drivers are accidentally going over the bridge now, and that was a nightmare over the holidays.”

After severe backups on the road caused by the ongoing ramp reconstruction project, RIDOT said it has made changes to ease congestion, reduce travel times and driver confusion through the project area.

The traffic light at the intersection of Halsey Boulevard and Admiral Kalbfus Road now allows drivers to make free-moving left and right turns more frequently.

There is also a brand new traffic signal installed on JT Connell Highway headed toward the bridge. The goal is to prevent backups caused by the existing stop sign.

Rep. Carson’s letter is still asking for more to be done.

12 News spoke with Newport City Council member Charles Holder who is looking ahead to how it could impact drives this summer.

“Right now we are at a good point because it is our slow season, but coming up soon in a couple of months we are going to have a much more influx of people coming in through the Newport Bridge and we want to make sure we are ready for that,” Holder said. 

In the letter, Rep. Carson also requests that RIDOT holds a public meeting in March to communicate construction plans ahead of the 2023 summer tourism season.

The ramp reconstruction is part of the more than $85 million Newport Pell Bridge Interchange Project, which began in 2020 and is expected to wrap up in 2024.