New exit numbers coming to I-295 in late November

Interstate 295 will get new exit numbers. (MGN)

Interstate 295 in Rhode Island will be the first highway in the Ocean State to get the “new exit sign numbers” required by the federal government.

The work starts the week after Thanksgiving. But it won't be the only roadway across the region.

There is a method to the madness.

Just when you finally memorized your exit number after all these years, RIDOT is beginning to comply with the federal requirement to change the exit numbers on Interstates and busy routes.

“Many of the exits in and around the same interchange will have the same exit number, but they'll be labeled 'A', 'B', 'C',” just like they do now,” Peter Alviti, who is the head of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, said.

The new signs that will retain the old numbers for about a year will start to be rolled out Nov. 27 on Interstate 295.

The 350,000 contract is going out to Liddell Brothers, and should take a couple of weeks to be finished. The feds pay 80 percent, the states pay the other 20.

It's a “geographic reference system” or “milepost numbering system.”

“At the most southerly end of 295, which is where it intersects with 95 in Warwick, will be ground zero,” said Alviti. “The exit numbers will correspond to the mile at which they fall along the highway.”

Although there will be no “Exit 0” to avoid confusion.

The Federal Highway Administration has a pretty good reason for changing all the exit sign numbers. All you have to do is know a little basic math.

“As you travel along a highway, you pretty much know the distance to the next exit, or you know the distance along the highway that you've travelled,” said Alviti.

In 2018, next up: the Westerly Expressway also known as Route 78, the Quonset Freeway also known as Route 403, and Route 4.

In 2019, Interstate 195, and Routes 10, 24, and 37 are scheduled to get the treatment.

Finally, on the list in 2020, north to south, the big Interstate 95 is expected to get the upgrade.

Trying to get it done in Massachusetts has been met with a lot of resistance, from the public, business, and government leaders as well. Mass DOT reportedly states the plan is "still under evaluation.” However, they may follow suit with a number of other states that have requested a waiver to no participate at all.

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