‘Pick a lane and stay in it,’ RIDOT director says of I-195 construction

Congestion on Interstate 195 west should lessen this week, Rhode Island Department of Transportation director Peter Alviti said Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. (WJAR)

Congestion on Interstate 195 west should lessen this week, Rhode Island Department of Transportation director Peter Alviti said Tuesday.

“We can already see some signs in the first two days of people adapting better,” Alviti told NBC 10 News.

The congestion is due to the new traffic pattern on the Washington Bridge. Crews are repairing the northern lanes of the bridge, which means exit 3 at Gano Street will be closed for 18 months. RIDOT recommends drivers take exit 2 at South Main Street and follow the detour.

RIDOT created a temporary on ramp on Taunton Avenue, which Alviti said has caused from problems.

“Pick a lane and stay in it,” he said.

Drivers merging onto 195 had been crossing the solid white lines and backing up traffic into Seekonk. Alviti told NBC 10 traffic barrels have been added to prevent people from changing lanes immediately.

The project is one of several bridge and highway projects underway in the East Bay area, sending drivers on detours and backing up traffic.

“The 10-year plan calls for us doing particular bridge projects at particular times in order for us to accomplish this mission and to do it in the least expensive manner,” Alviti said.

Alviti said engineers have learned from previous projects. They consult with firefighters and law enforcement, sit in traffic themselves and using Waze map data for research.

“We expect over the next three days to have the data we need so we can make some assessments and maybe make some additional tweaks to how we have this work zone set up,” he said.

RIDOT is looking to widen Interstate 195 in general to alleviate traffic. The Washington Bridge project is expected to wrap up in the fall 2020.

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