WARWICK, RI — Starting today, RIDOT pickups will conduct Providence and Warwick highway aid patrols for all of I-195 in Rhode Island and I-95 from the Massachusetts state line in Pawtucket to the Airport Connector in Warwick during peak travel weekdays.
The Providence and Warwick highway aid times will be run in the morning (6:30-9:30 a.m.) and evening (3:30-6:30 p.m.), Monday through Friday, the RIDOT reported this morning. The aid will be offered as part of the agency’s a pilot program involving service vehicles patrolling Providence-Warwick area highways to help clear disabled vehicles stopped on the side of the road.
RIDOT Roadside Responders will patrol high-volume highways in Providence and stop whenever they encounter a disabled vehicle. By getting people on their way as quickly as possible, this will reduce congestion and keep traffic flowing, reduce the risk of secondary crashes, and improve safety. RIDOT stressed that drivers should still reach out to their roadside assistance providers, such as roadside assistance or towing services, such as AAA, as soon as possible after pulling over safely into the shoulder.
The Roadside Responder vehicles are specially marked Ford F-350 pickup trucks equipped with safety lights and a variety of tools and supplies to help motorists in need. They will be able to provide fuel, change flat tires, make minor mechanical repairs, jump start a dead battery, or call for a tow truck if needed. The vehicles also will assist first responders by providing traffic control during an incident and provide RIDOT real-time information regarding any potential issues or hazards such as potholes or debris in the road.
“These vehicles will be an extra set of hands and extra pair of eyes on our busiest highways,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. “By helping others who have the misfortune to break down on the side of the Interstate, we will keep the highways flowing better and safer for all drivers.”
Under the pilot program, two vehicles will patrol all of I-195 in Rhode Island and I-95 from the Massachusetts state line in Pawtucket to the Airport Connector in Warwick during peak travel times in the morning and evening weekdays. RIDOT will dispatch the Roadside Responder vehicles as needed. Each vehicle will be equipped with a GPS device to allow RIDOT to track their location in real-time.
Based on the results of the pilot program, RIDOT may expand the services in the future and add more vehicles, increase coverage times or include additional roadways to be patrolled.
There will be no cost for motorists aided by the Roadside Responder vehicles. RIDOT is funding this program using 80 percent federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Biden in November 2021. The act provided an additional $575 million to Rhode Island to improve our transportation system and make it safer and more efficient.
RIDOT estimates that every year the Roadside Responder service will save 238,000 hours of vehicle delays, 58,000 gallons of fuel and 580 tons of carbon emissions.
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