SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — The Putnam Pike Bridge, which carries Route 44 over I-295 in Smithfield, will be reduced from four lanes to two so the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) can replace the more than 50-year-old structure.

Starting the night of Friday, April 15, the left lane will be closed in both directions, according to RIDOT. The agency asked drivers to use caution and reduce speed while heading through the work zone.

RIDOT said the lane changes will not impact travel on I-295 or its on- and off-ramps.

The $15.7 million project includes fully replacing the bridge deck and making several other repairs to the bridge, which is one point away from being rated structurally deficient, according to RIDOT.

This first phase of construction will be in place until the fall. At that point, RIDOT said it plans to reopen all lanes to accommodate increased traffic for the holiday shopping season.

In spring 2023, the second phase of construction will begin, RIDOT said, at which time the right-hand lanes will be closed until fall 2023.