At 7 p.m. that night, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will move the three remaining southbound spans of the bridges into place, said RIDOT spokesman Charles St. Martin.
Traffic going southbound on I-95 at these bridges will be shifted onto the paved median between both bridges, which are within a short distance of one another. This is the temporary road travelers have seen being built for the past year on I-95.
I-95 North traffic will remain where it is, but lanes will be shifted to the right. The northern three spans, one over Toll Gate Road and two over Centerville Road, were completed last weekend, St. Martin said.
Travel lanes on both directions of I-95 will be reduced from four to three for the duration of the bridge replacement work.
Both bridges are listed in fair condition which is one step from structurally deficient.
The Centerville Road Bridge carries I-95 over Centerville Road (Route 117) between exits 10 and 11.
The Toll Gate Road Bridge carries I-95 over Toll Gate Road (Route 115). These two bridges accommodate 174,000 vehicles daily. RIDOT successfully completed the installation of three northbound spans this past weekend using accelerated bridge construction methods.
The Centerville Road Bridge, a two-span bridge, will be worked on first. Centerville Road will remain open, but lane shifts will be used according to which bridge span is being worked on. During construction on the Toll Gate Road Bridge, traffic on Toll Gate Road will be detoured to Centerville Road and Commonwealth Avenue. Either Toll Gate Road or Centerville Road will be open to traffic at all times during construction.
Travelers should follow the detour signs and expect ramp closures. I-95 South Exit 10A for Centerville Road eastbound toward Apponaug will be closed for the entire eight-day period. Drivers can follow a detour using Commonwealth Avenue to Leon E. Whipple Road to Toll Gate Road. The on-ramp to I-95 North from Centerville Road westbound also will be closed.
RIDOT will have police officers available to help coordinate any U-turning traffic from Centerville Road westbound to Centerville Road eastbound.
Once the remaining three bridges are set in place, St. Martin said, there will still be work left on the project. The bridge spans themselves will need to be paved and the roads leading to the bridges will also need work once the major construction is complete.
The median at that section of the highway will be returned to its original grassy state, St. Martin said. The area is needed for drainage, and leaving the additional lanes in place would not provide much practical traffic capacity, he said, since there isn’t room to allow those lanes to continue for more than an exit or so before drivers would be forced to merge back anyway.
St. Martin said the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting telecommuting has cut down on traffic, allowing the project to proceed without as much interruption as it might have during normal commuting conditions.
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