Beginning on Tuesday, January 3, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will make a series of additional changes to ease congestion caused by the reconstruction of the Pell Bridge Ramps in Newport, in order to improve traffic flows through the project. During the last week, RIDOT made changes to further mitigate delay and is now moving forward with more changes aimed at reducing travel times and driver confusion through the project area.
“We apologize for the inconveniences that the project is creating, and from the first day we have been working continuously to put in place improvements that mitigate this inconvenience,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. “During last week our teams improved traffic signal timing, added signage, and amended traffic patterns in a way that has provided some relief to the congestion. The project management team will implement more changes in the days ahead to further improve traffic flow, create less confusion for visitors, and will generally make conditions safer and more efficient while we construct the new and improved gateway to Newport.”
The new changes and expected timeline are as follows:
Traffic Signal Changes on Admiral Kalbfus Road (January 3)
By the evening commute on January 3, RIDOT will change the traffic signal at the intersection of Admiral Kalbfus Road and Halsey Boulevard, located next to the former Newport Grand. This intersection is used by drivers coming from Naval Station Newport or the roundabout, and those coming from West Main Road, going to the Pell Bridge or Downtown Newport.
Admiral Kalbfus Road Eastbound: For anyone coming from the Naval base and roundabout going to the Pell Bridge and Downtown Newport, the signal will allow drivers to make a free-moving right turn onto the new extension road at all times. This will help mitigate the backups experienced last week on Admiral Kalbfus Road, from the Naval base to the Pell Bridge.
Admiral Kalbfus Road Westbound: For anyone heading west on Admiral Kalbfus Road coming from West Main Road and going to Pell Bridge and Downtown Newport, they will have a green arrow for free left turns, which will change to a flashing yellow arrow for left turns yielding to oncoming traffic. Proceed with caution. It will then turn to a red arrow, indicating drivers must stop and not turn. This change is intended to mitigate some of the backups experienced last week coming from West Main Road on Admiral Kalbfus Road going to the Pell Bridge.
New Signal for JT Connell Highway Traffic Headed to Pell Bridge (January 3)
Also by the evening commute on January 3, RIDOT will install a new traffic signal for drivers coming from Downtown Newport on JT Connell Highway going to the Pell Bridge. The traffic signal will be located at the intersection of the new JT Connell Connector Road where it meets Halsey Boulevard, where there is a stop sign now. When the signal displays a green light, a free right turn is allowed. When red, a right turn on red is allowed after making a complete stop and proceeding with caution. This change is aimed at reducing the backup from the existing stop sign back along the JT Connell Connector Road and onto JT Connell Highway.
New Destination Signage (January 13)
By Friday, January 13, RIDOT will install several new pathfinding signs throughout the project area that will clearly show drivers how to reach major destinations such as Downtown Newport, the Navy Base, the Pell Bridge and West Main Road heading to Middletown and Portsmouth. These signs will be installed to help mitigate some of the confusion and disorientation that occurs from drivers experiencing new traffic patterns.
“We know that during construction, projects of this magnitude and complexity can create challenges and some temporary inconvenience to commuters in their vicinity, but we are always working to make the process as painless as possible,” Alviti said. “We assure you that some inconveniences are both necessary and temporary in order to make the space we need available to build the new and much improved infrastructure that will make traveling around Newport more pleasant and create an unprecedented opportunity for economic growth for Newport. We also thank the residents and visitors of Newport for their patience and cooperation while we make these game-changing improvements for the City and surrounding communities.”
Additional information about the project and changes will be posted at www.ridot.net/PellBridgeRamps and using the sign-up form, anyone can receive regular project updates emailed directly to them. RIDOT also will convene an additional public meeting in Newport in February for an update on the future phases of the project.
The $74 million Pell Bridge Ramps Phase 2 project is rebuilding the road network connecting to the Pell Bridge to make travel into Newport easy and safe. It includes a new efficient ramp system that will 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. With a smaller footprint, the new design also will spur economic development as it frees up approximately 25 acres of land. It will be finished by the end of 2024. More details about the project are available at www.ridot.net/PellBridgeRamps.
All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.
The Pell Bridge Ramps Phase 2 Project is made possible by RhodeWorks, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Improvement and Jobs Act. RIDOT is committed to bringing Rhode Island’s infrastructure into a state of good repair while respecting the environment and striving to improve it. Learn more at www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks.