PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s congressional delegation is celebrating a $60.3 million federal grant to replace and upgrade the busy I-95 Northbound Providence Viaduct.
“The Northbound Providence Viaduct is a mess,” R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti said. “It’s a traffic bottleneck, and it doesn’t function well.”
Alviti said the stretch of Providence highway is the third most traveled section of I-95 throughout the Northeast, with more than 220,000 cars traveling over it each day. The southbound side was replaced in 2017.
The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
“I developed the INFRA Program to green-light once-in-a-generation infrastructure projects like the reconstruction of the Northbound Providence Viaduct,” Whitehouse said. “The Providence Viaduct – designed in the 1960s and the heart of our state’s highway system – was simply not designed to carry the hundreds of thousands of vehicles that cross it every day.”
“This was a major project to do, it’ll cost a significant amount of money, without this grant it would’ve probably been impossible for the state to do it,” Rep. David Cicilline said.
Construction is set to begin late next year and should take about five years to complete.
Last spring state lawmakers authorized borrowing $200 million, backed by future federal highway funding, to pay for the Viadcut project. RIDOT said any extra funds made available from the borrowing due to the new grant will be put toward other projects such as the Washington Bridge on I-195.