McKee Administration Update on Washington Bridge Response

 McKee Administration Update on Washington Bridge Response
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PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, Governor Dan McKee was joined by Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva, Providence Mayor Brett Smiley, Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti, Colonel Darnell Weaver of the Rhode Island State Police (RISP), Commerce Secretary Liz Tanner, Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and Executive Director of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association Chief Sid Wordell to provide an update on the all-hands-on-deck Washington Bridge response.
“Right now, this is the number one priority,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Our all-hands-on-deck team of state and local leaders continues to ensure public safety while minimizing any burden caused by the temporary traffic patterns. We will continue to hold daily press briefings throughout the week to ensure Rhode Islanders have the most up to date information about our ongoing response.”
The Governor and his team shared the following updates on the ongoing response:
  • First thing this morning, Governor McKee hosted the Administration’s daily municipal leader briefing where we continue to get updates directly from communities impacted by the Washington Bridge closure. This is crucial information that helps us respond quickly to changing conditions.
  • Governor McKee joined East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva and East Providence Police Chief Christopher Francesconi to survey traffic conditions, identify areas that may require an adjustment in traffic patterns, and see firsthand where the State can provide additional support to reduce congestion.
  • Governor McKee, Providence Mayor Smiley and Commerce Secretary Tanner met with businesses in Wayland Square to hear firsthand how the closure is impacting their operations and to offer support.
  • RIDOT has made significant progress on getting two lanes open on the eastbound side of the Washington Bridge with the expectation of opening the bypass for use starting this weekend, well ahead of initial two-week projection. All barriers needed for this change are on site and installation has started. RIDOT also has created a dedicated web page for information about the closure at: This website also has valuable information for commuters, including a wide range of suggested detours. All announcements will be posted here as well.
  • RIDOT is also pursuing other strategies to move vehicles westbound, including possible temporary ferry service between Bristol and Providence. RIDOT has spoken with Interstate Navigation, SeaStreak and Vineyard Fast Ferry – those conversations will continue and additional details will be shared.
  • To assist businesses disrupted by closure, RIDOT has also designated a liaison to work daily with them and the team at Commerce.
  • RIEMA is deploying portable camera systems to East Providence to assist with traffic management concerns. They have also been tasked by the Governor to organize daily calls with local elected officials and state agency directors to provide status updates and coordinate solutions for concerns and issues.
  • Rhode Island Commerce remains in constant contact with state, local, and federal officials sharing updated outreach efforts and information from businesses while also conveying updates to the chambers of commerce, trade associations, and community and business leaders. A team has been mobilized to address questions and concerns from businesses, conduct outreach, and work with them on available assistance. Our helpline 521-HELP is open, and a webpage has been created at with important information and resources.

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