NORTH SMITHFIELD – Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, and other state and local leaders gathered on the side of Route 146 in North Smithfield on Wednesday to highlight the much-needed improvements to Route 146 made possible by a $65 million grant secured this summer by the state’s congressional delegation.
The estimated $150 million project will replace multiple bridges along the Route 146 corridor, repave 8 miles of roadway and correct numerous safety and congestion problems – including at the Sayles Hill Road interchange where today’s event took place.
RIDOT’s project will remove the traffic signal where Route 146 meets Sayles Hill Road and build a bridge so the highway can pass freely over the road. The intersection averages more than 85 crashes per year and is a source of significant congestion and travel delay. It is the only signalized intersection on the entire Route 146 highway corridor in Rhode Island.
“Today, we are announcing the start of relief for the 170,000 vehicles that navigate the bumps and ruts of Route 146 every day. Help is on the way. This is a critical transportation route that has gone unimproved for far too long,” Alviti said. “Once again our Congressional delegation has gone to bat for Rhode Island and delivered tens of millions of dollars in grant funding so we can properly address all our concerns with Route 146 in a single project. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
“This federal investment will allow RIDOT to go beyond simply fixing what we have. It will lead to significant safety improvements, including the reconfiguration of the Sayles Hill Road intersection,” said Reed, the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development.
“I developed the INFRA program to clear our national backlog of major infrastructure projects, including the overhaul of Route 146,” said Whitehouse, who authored the INFRA Program in 2015 to help meet Rhode Island’s need for large-scale infrastructure investments. “As anyone who lives in the northern part of the state will tell you, driving on 146 can be a real headache. I’m thrilled that RIDOT won its largest federal grant ever and is ready to get Rhode Islanders to work upgrading Route 146 with new bridges and a modernized design.”
Other highlights of the project include:
• Replacing two bridges along the corridor and doing preservation work on four others
• Building frontage roads for easy and safe access to businesses at the Sayles Hill Road interchange
• Repaving Route 146 from the I-295 interchange to the Massachusetts state line Adding bus-on-shoulder accommodations along the southern end of Route 146 in North Providence and Providence
• Extending existing fiber optic lines and Intelligent Transportation Systems/traffic monitoring from the I-295 interchange to the Massachusetts state line
• Rebuilding the Route 146/Route 146A interchange, removing dangerous U-turns using a diverging diamond interchange
• Extending the weave length for the Route 99 Ramp and Route 146 south Improving the geometry of the I-295 southbound off-ramp to Route 146
• Building new drainage systems
• Replacing guardrail and making other safety improvements such as wrong way driving detection systems
More than 171,000 vehicles travel Route 146 between Providence and Worcester each day.
Design work is well underway and RIDOT anticipates advertising for construction in late 2021 with construction starting in spring 2022. Construction on the entire project will be complete in 2025.
All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.