Study shows how fast drivers are going over Newport, Jamestown bridges

East Bay

JAMESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Speeding is a big issue on both the Newport Pell Bridge and Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge, according to a new study released by the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA).

Over the course of eight days last month, the RITBA studied speeds on both bridges and also along route 138 in Jamestown which connects the two.

Now there are efforts to slow drivers down.

On the Newport Pell Bridge, the study found only about 5% of drivers obeyed the speed limit which is 40 mph. The data shows the average speed was 53 mph, and 70% of drivers exceeded the speed limit by 11 mph or more.

“People are driving too fast on the bridges – and some are traveling at unacceptably high rates of speed,”
Executive Director of RITBA Lori Caron Silveira said.

On the Jamestown Verrazanno Bridge is a similar story but the speed limit is 45 mph. The average speed, according to the study, was 59 mph and 66% of drivers went at least 11 mph over the speed limit or more.

The study also found about 62% of drivers went 1-10 mph over the speed limit on Rt. 138, which is 50 mph. Though speeding is still an issue in this location, it’s at lower margins than on the two bridges.

The RITBA says the study will now be used to determine better ways to enforce speed limits in these areas.

“This is a quality of life issue in Jamestown and an issue citizens are concerned about,” said Jamestown Police Chief Edward Mello said. “The information provided by this study allows us to pinpoint where and when we need to increase our patrols, allowing us to design the most effective enforcement effort.”

According to a report by the Providence Journal, authorities are looking at potentially using cameras to track down and issue tickets to speeding drivers, but that would require approval from the General Assembly.

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