PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Transportation landed $10 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s transportation investment generating economic recovery grant program to accelerate the rehabilitation of the Providence Viaduct and begin work late this year.
The 1,290-foot multi-span bridge carries I-95 through Providence and has a higher traffic volume than any other segment in Rhode Island, according to the release announcing the funds.
“This is great news for Rhode Island and represents national recognition of the challenges we face in adequately funding our roads and bridges,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said in a statement. “I’ve always said a strong infrastructure paves the way for a strong economy.”
“As witnessed first-hand by [U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood] during his recent visit to Rhode Island, keeping this section of I-95 in top condition is vitally important to our future and that of the whole Northeast,” added Chafee.
The DOT intends to replace the bridge in phases to minimize the impact of its estimated $169 million cost.
The $10 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER fund will allow DOT to being the first phase a full year earlier than originally anticipated.
The department intends to advertise for construction bids during summer 2012 and to secure a contractor for the project by the end of the calendar year. The DOT expects the contractor to break ground in spring 2013.
The first stage of the viaduct work, which the DOT intends to complete by late 2015, will include construction of a new bridge for I-95 southbound and relocation of traffic on I-95 South to the new bridge.
Phase one will also include construction of a new Atwells Avenue off-ramp and modifications to the ramp from I-95 South to Route 6 West.
Through three additional construction phases, the DOT will relocate I-95 northbound traffic to the original southbound bridge, replace the existing I-95 North bridge, and demolish the original highway bridges once all traffic has been relocated to the new structures.
The Providence Viaduct work is slated for a 2018 completion.
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