EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Traffic was snarled for hours Sunday night from I-195 West to Seekonk and along the East Shore Expressway in East Providence.
Eyewitness News took several calls and emails from frustrated drivers reporting times of up to two hours sitting in what looked like a parking lot. Traffic began to ease just before midnight Sunday.
The commotion comes as the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) works to ease traffic problems on I-195 West by reinstating a fourth travel lane in time for the Monday morning commute.
“You’re losing your time, you’re losing your money, you’re losing you’re life,” East Providence resident Aleksey Maryanov said.
She makes the commute daily and is usually tied up in the traffic on his way home when he can’t leave work early or late to try and avoid it.
“Well, it’s obviously awful,” Maryanov said.
After a week of repair work and lane closures for the Washington Bridge project, RIDOT announced some big changes.
“We are pushing the pause button,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti says a large part of the $22 million Washington Bridge project is being put on hold.
Alviti said a fourth lane of travel will open by 6 a.m. Monday morning for the busy morning commute.
That lane will allow traffic coming from the Taunton Avenue on-ramp to have its own lane and not merge with traffic already on I-195 West.
“It will not require them to merge quickly into the main flow of traffic,” Alviti said.
Another adjustment includes removing the barrier on I-195 West between the Broadway ramp and the Parkway Bridge.
Then to try and alleviate congestion even more, Alviti says a fifth lane will likely open Tuesday morning.
“That will pretty much put in pre-construction condition so that traffic should revert back to the pattern as it was before we started this,” Alviti said.
The project was originally expected to be done in Fall 2020. Alviti says with this pause it could take a little longer and cost more, but should save commuters time.
“There’s a trade off and we’re working to find that sweet spot,” Alviti said.
Alviti said the Exit 3 to Gano Street will still be closed.