CRANSTON, RI — The state’s effort to improve traffic flow around Quonset Business Park and upgrade a key stretch of Rte. 37, connecting Cranston and Warwick is getting a $25.3 million boost thanks to two new federal grants announced by U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
Reed says $21,329,338 should be put to work in Cranston rebuilding six bridge structures in the area and adding a third lane at I-295 North with new pavement and minor widening. The new auxiliary lane from Rte. 37 to the top of the hill (known locally as the “Cranston Canyon”) will give drivers more room to maneuver and ease commuter congestion.
In addition to repairing bridges and addressing the Cranston Canyon, RIDOT also plans to use the federal funds to extend a third lane northbound to Plainfield Pike, improve the Route 37 East Ramp to I-295 North for safety, and create a new interchange on Route 37 at Route 2.
When it is completed, the project will repair nearly 70,000 square feet of structurally deficient bridge deck, and make much-needed safety improvements to the Route 37/I-295 Interchange. RIDOT estimates the total cost of the project will be $85 million.
The new grant builds on a previous $20 million federal grant the state received in 2017 to help pay for the Rte. 37 Bridge and Roadway Improvement Project. RIDOT is currently putting that money to use rehabilitating a series of bridges and culverts along Rte. 37 and making safety modifications to Route 37’s westbound Exit 3 off-ramp in order to improve mobility and safety.
Quonset Business Park Access Upgrade
Additionally, a new $4 million BUILD grant will help RIDOT advance a design study for constructing full freeway-to-freeway access between I-95 and Rte. 4, and from Quonset Business Park to Route 4 via Route 403. RIDOT plans to spend $5 million to address the so-called “missing move” – a direct connection between the Route 4 and Interstate 95 South.
The federal grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) program — formerly known as TIGER grants — which focuses on economic development and infrastructure upgrades.
Reed, the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittee, helped create the TIGER/BUILD grant program, has led efforts to fund it, and directly advocated for this grant with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who told him of the award during a telephone conversation earlier today.
“This federal funding will help improve traffic and safety conditions. The result will be a safer, more efficient interchange along these well-traveled commercial and freight corridors,” said Senator Reed. “I appreciate Secretary Chao’s support for these important projects. I will continue working to ensure the federal government invests in upgrading Rhode Island’s infrastructure.”