Rhode Island Pell Bridge Enters Phase 2

This phase, totaling $74 million, will redesign the roads connecting to the four-lane, 2.1 mile Pell Bridge used to enter Newport.

Source : Flickr

July 20, 2021

Author : Patty Rodriguez

Phase 1 of the project, valued at $10.9 million, focused on the reconstruction of JT Connell Highway and Coddington Highway, but with Phase 2 involving interchanges and a much higher dollar amount, the state has a more interesting project ahead.

As such, Governor Dan McKee, US Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline and Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Acting Administrator of Project Management Lori Fisette gathered Friday to break ground on the ramp project.

The planned renovations include a new efficient ramp system designed to reduce congestion, “especially the backup of vehicles on the bridge from the Downtown Newport exit, and improve the connection between Newport's North End and the downtown area,” according to the press release.

In addition to cutting back on congestion, which improves the atmosphere of the entire area, another added boon is that the new design frees up 25 acres of land which can be used for even more business near the major tourist hotspot.

“This project is a big win on many fronts," Governor McKee said. "It will solve chronic safety and congestion issues, provide a unique opportunity for economic growth, and serve as an attractive gateway to Newport."

Senator Reed was also quite pleased with the commencement of Phase 2, as he has been working to get federal funds together for the project for more than a decade. 

“The Pell Bridge is the gateway to Aquidneck Island. Whether you are traveling to Newport attractions or the Naval Station, this project will make your trip safer and faster. It will also open about twenty-five acres for economic development," Senator Reed said. 

"It took many years and many hands to bring this project to this stage. The entire community contributed, leading to an improved design that includes bike and pedestrian paths as prominent features,” he added.

Politicians are also considering that the ramp work will not only better lead tourists to Newport but also that it will lead to an even brighter future for the bridge. Senator Whitehouse commented that "My hope is that the construction of new ramps will be just the first step in upgrading the iconic Pell Bridge."

“This exciting project will make for smoother, speedier entry to Aquidneck Island and free up land in a prime location for economic development," Senator Whitehouse continued.

Major features of the Phase 2 project will include:

  • “Removing the elevated "highway to nowhere" that terminates near the Wayfinder Hotel and former Newport Grand/Newport Jai Alai property.”
  • “Removing and relocating the Downtown Newport exit from the Pell Bridge.”
  • “Building a park and ride lot and bike path to provide a connection to Downtown Newport near the Newport Visitors Center.”
  • “Removing a sharp curve to Admiral Kalbfus Road which will result in a 65 percent reduction in crashes.”
  • “Realigning the Farewell Street and America's Cup Avenue intersection.”
  • “Converting the rotary at JT Connell Highway and Admiral Kalbfus Road into a modern roundabout.”

Many of these redesigns will not only increase traffic flow but, importantly, dramatically reduce the risk of crashes.

Photo via Flickr.

Category : Department of Transportation Investment in Infrastructure State Government Bridges Public Works

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