NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation announced today that milling and paving of badly deteriorated sections of Route 146 in North Smithfield and Lincoln will begin on Wednesday, August 10.
The paving, which will be done overnight when traffic volumes are low according to RIDOT, is just the beginning of a massive rehabilitation of the busy stretch of highway set to take place over the next several years. Paving of the worst sections is set to be completed in the next two months.
“The work will be done in two phases, the first focusing on Route 146 in both directions from Route 99 in Lincoln to Route 146A (Eddie Dowling Highway) in North Smithfield,” a release from RIDOT notes.
Drivers can expect lane closures and rough and uneven driving surfaces, and according to RIDOT, this first phase will be completed by the end of August.
The second phase will reportedly include milling and paving of Route 146 South, from Central Street to Route 146A in North Smithfield, and will be done by the end of September.
The paving is part of the $196 million Route 146 Reconstruction Project, and is meant to address the worst sections of the highway to provide an improved driving surface through the life of the project, according to RIDOT. By the end of the project, the entire highway from I-295 to the Massachusetts state line is scheduled to have been repaved.
“The pavement mixes RIDOT uses today are far more durable and include modified polymer additives that will significantly extend the service life of the new pavement,” notes the release. “In addition to providing a smoother and long-lasting riding surface for drivers, the more durable pavement reduces the frequency of future paving projects, saving millions of dollars and conserving resources including petroleum products that are used in asphalt.”
The project is expected to make badly needed improvements to the Route 146 corridor, making it safer and reducing congestion and vehicle emissions. Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation secured a $65 million federal INFRA grant – the largest the state ever received – in 2020, with hopes all of the safety issues along the deteriorating stretch of highway can be addressed in a single project.
Future repairs are set to include the replacement or repair of five bridges, repaving of eight miles of roadway and the construction of a flyover bridge to carry Route 146 over Sayles Hill Road.
That portion of the work – which will eliminate the traffic signal at Sayles Hill Road, the only traffic light on all of Route 146 according to RIDOT – will be done in spring of 2026. The intersection averages more than 85 crashes per year and is a constant source of congestion and travel delay.
More than 171,000 vehicles travel Route 146 between Providence and Worcester each day. RIDOT notes that all construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.
Read about an official groundbreaking on the project here.