NORTH SMITHFIELD — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has secured funding for long anticipated repairs to Route 146, federal money that will be used to replace three bridges, reconfigure the Sayles Hill Road intersection and repave eight miles of roadway.
The state’s federal delegation announced last week that RIDOT has received a $65 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grant.
More than 171,000 vehicles travel Route 146 between Providence and Worcester, Mass.each day, and the road has long had poor pavement conditions, structurally deficient bridges and an obsolete design, noted legislators.
“I helped create the INFRA program with major, once-in-a-generation projects like this one in mind,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who authored the INFRA Program in 2015 to help meet Rhode Island’s need for large-scale infrastructure investments. “Route 146, with all of its bumps and quirks, is the main thoroughfare for Rhode Islanders who live in the northern part of the state. I’m thrilled that we have the funds in hand to create good jobs upgrading Route 146 with new bridges, a modern design, and miles of fresh pavement.”
“I advocated directly to Secretary (Elaine) Chao for this competitive grant because Route 146 is one of the most problematic stretches of road in the state,” Sen. Reed said. “After decades of patches, it is in dire need of repair. I am pleased these federal funds will address safety at the Sayles Hill Road intersection, which averages over 100 accidents a year.”
RIDOT applied for $90 million in funds for the project, which will come with repaving for the eight-mile stretch of road between I-295 and the Massachusetts state line. Funding may also be used to install a bus-on-shoulder lane along the southern limits of Route 146 into Providence, new drainage features, modern median barriers to replace old guardrails and broadband improvements. The complete cost of the project is estimated at $150 million.
“Route 146 is a vital roadway for our state, and the millions in federal funds awarded to RIDOT will help improve the safety and flow of traffic in this corridor for the residents, commuters and businesses who rely on it,” said Rep. Jim Langevin said. “By making these investments in infrastructure, we’re addressing Rhode Island’s urgent needs and creating important employment opportunities during this trying time. I’ll continue to work with my Rhode Island Congressional colleagues to bring additional resources to our great state.”
The INFRA discretionary grant program provides funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for large-scale urban highway and multimodal projects that might otherwise stall without additional federal support.
“Rebuilding Rhode Island’s infrastructure is one of the most effective ways we have to create good-paying jobs and grow our economy,” said Congressman David Cicilline. “This project will fix a critical interchange that serves Providence, Lincoln, and North Smithfield. It is critical that the federal government do even more to invest in these kinds of local projects, and I will continue working to make sure that happens.”
Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2021.