PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A once commonly used exit on I-195 West could soon be gone for good, according to the R.I. Department of Transportation.
The Exit 3 off-ramp to Gano Street is currently closed as RIDOT repairs the Washington Bridge over the Seekonk River.
RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said transportation officials believe the extensive backups commuters experience traveling on I-195 through East Providence and the East Side of Providence during rush hour are caused specifically by the Gano Street exit.
While tens of millions of dollars in repairs are already in the area are already underway, RIDOT has now applied for a $25 million federal grant to retool the ramps.
The Gano Street exit would be eliminated, and instead a new exit would be added in East Providence before the river that would lead drivers north to the Henderson Bridge. (That bridge is also slated to be repaired in the coming years.)
“This new ramp would allow traffic that’s looking to get to South Angell Street to get there faster and safer than taking Gano Street,” Alviti explained.
In total, the project would cost $70 million, but only $14 million of that would come from the state if the grant is approved.
The Gano Street exit is already closed for repairs, so retooling the ramps would make the closure permanent.
“We could rebuild this just the way it is, or with the additional investment from the federal grant, we can do much more than that and clear up congestion,” Alviti added.
If the federal grant is approved, Alviti said construction could be wrapped up by 2024. He said RIDOT will spend the next year holding informational seminars discussing the plan with city leaders and the public.