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RITBA: Drivers should expect delays crossing Newport Bridge

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority says drivers should expect delays when crossing the Newport Bridge (WJAR)

Work has resumed on the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge, which has resulted in lane closures.

Drivers have complained to NBC 10 News about long waits to cross the bridge, so I tried it out myself.

My journey over the Newport Bridge started at 7:50 a.m. Tuesday during the morning rush hour.

At times cars travelled as slow as 7 mph, and there were periods where traffic came to a complete standstill. It took 22 minutes to make it across the bridge.

Some other drivers thought that was good.

"Yesterday, one guy said he crossed bridge in hour and 15 minutes," said Abdul Kahn.

"I'm driving from Hope Valley. It usually takes me 45 minutes to get here, but it takes me like an hour and half now," said Ryan Mcaleer.

The lane closures that started Thursday will be in place until Nov. 22 as crews remove and replace 800 feet of the bridge's original deck.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said drivers traveling to Newport should expect delays in the morning and that drivers leaving Newport should expect delays in the afternoon.

The absolute worst time to be on the bridge is between 3 and 5 p.m., heading out of Newport.

"We've done our very, very best to work with the Newport Police Department in an attempt to mitigate the traffic flows." said RITBA Executive Director Buddy Croft.

So far, the authority says the delays have been shorter than they were in the spring. But it is asking drivers to be patient and to leave plenty of extra time traveling over the bridge during the morning and evening rush hour.

"Anyone who is inconvenienced, we'll do our very best to try to make it a quicker commute," Croft said.

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