LINCOLN/NORTH SMITHFIELD – On Friday night, March 24, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation will shift lanes on I-295 at the Route 146 interchange in Lincoln to provide safe work zones for the start of construction to replace the bridges that carry I-295 over Route 146. These bridge replacements are part of the larger $196 million Route 146 Reconstruction Project.
The lanes in both directions of I-295 at the Route 146 ramps – Exit 18 – will shift to the right and the number of through lanes will be reduced from three to two. The following week, starting on Friday, March 31, lanes on the Route 146 service roads in both directions at the I-295 overpass will shift to the right. RIDOT also will shift the travel lanes on Route 146 to the left, according to a release on the project.
In the work zones created by the lane shifts, RIDOT will build piers for the new bridges. Demolition of the old bridge components and construction of new bridges will take place over the next three construction seasons. RIDOT will maintain at least two lanes of travel in each direction of I-295 during peak travel times.
The I-295 bridges date back to 1969 and carry 56,000 vehicles a day. The northbound bridge is classified as structurally deficient, and the southbound bridge is one rating point away from being structurally deficient. Both must be replaced, according to RIDOT.
In addition to these bridges, the project includes, “greatly needed improvements to the Route 146 corridor, making it safer, improving transit connections, and reducing congestion and vehicle emissions,” the release notes. The project will replace or repair five bridges, repave 8 miles of roadway and build a flyover bridge to carry Route 146 over Sayles Hill Road in North Smithfield – eliminating the traffic signal at Sayles Hill Road, the only traffic light on all of Route 146 in Rhode Island.
This intersection averages more than 85 crashes per year and is a source of significant congestion and travel delay. Visit www.ridot.net/Route146 for more information.
The project was funded in part by a $65 million federal INFRA grant – the largest the state ever received – which was secured by Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation. It will be finished in summer 2026.
All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.