I-95 northbound bridge work in Exeter prompts weekend traffic detours

I-95 northbound bridge work in Exeter prompts weekend traffic detours

Record-Journal


EXETER — Motorists can expect delays this weekend when a section of northbound Interstate 95 is closed on Friday at 9 p.m. for the replacement of the Tefft Hill Trail bridge. The project, which the Rhode Island Department of Transportation describes as a “rapid bridge replacement,” is expected to be completed by 5 a.m. Monday morning.

Rather than taking months to do the work, RIDOT opted instead for a total closure of the northbound lanes, which will allow crews to finish the job more quickly, a strategy that the agency said will save nearly a million dollars and several months of travel delays. It will also allow the weigh station, which is heavily used by truckers, to remain open.

“We have lower costs and less impact to motorists,” RIDOT spokesman Charles St. Martin said of the intensive work schedule. “Because of the location of the Tefft Hill Trail bridge and the weigh station that’s on 95 North — not the rest area but the weigh station that’s really close to that — we were able to do the southbound side by shifting traffic around, because the weigh station is after the bridge. But in this case, it’s before it, so we most likely would have had to close that and those weigh stations get used by the trucking community.”

Throughout the weekend, all traffic will be detoured off I-95 North at Exit 4 in Richmond to Route 3 (Nooseneck Hill Road) North. Passenger vehicles will remain on Route 3 and get back on the interstate at the Exit 6 interchange in West Greenwich. Trucks will get back on the interstate at the Exit 5/Route 102 interchange, which is also in West Greenwich.

Richmond Police Chief Elwood Johnson said he was prepared for traffic tie-ups from motorists leaving the interstate and entering Route 3.

“I think it’s fair to say that it’s going to happen,” he said. “There’ll be duty officers out there. We’ll have at least two starting Friday night on Nooseneck Hill Road and working through the weekend.”

St. Martin said motorists should be prepared for delays.

“Just the traffic volume on the highway reducing down to one lane and then exiting, so we do expect delays on 95 North leading up to the exit,” he said. “Route 3 is a four-lane road so it does have a lot of capacity, certainly more capacity than the traffic that uses it today on a regular basis, so that roadway can handle the increased volume of traffic. I would expect anyone going through it to plan for some delay, especially at peak travel times.”

On weekends, peak travel times include late mornings on Saturdays and a slight increase in traffic on Sundays.

“It certainly is an inconvenience,” St. Martin said. “We appreciate their patience with it. That’s why we’ve been doing as much as we can to try and get the word out.”

cdrummond@thewesterlysun.com

@cynthiadrummon4

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