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The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has initiated a request-for-qualifications (RFQ) process to solicit bids for the design and build of the replacement for the Route 6/10 interchange in Providence.
RIDOT says the project has been “sitting on the drawing board for more than 30 years.”
The project offers a new design Gov. Gina M. Raimondo and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza unveiled in December that “preserves project budget and timeline, improves regional traffic flow, helps to reconnect surrounding neighborhoods, creates miles of new bike paths and makes acres of new land available for development.”
The state’s RhodeWorks program is making $400 million available to replace nine bridges in the interchange, seven of which are structurally deficient.
RIDOT expects construction to begin in this fall and will create 1,700 direct job years.
Highlights of the project the department identifies include:
Direct Connection from Route 10 North onto Route 6 West: Road design includes the “missing move” connecting Route 10 North to Route 6 West – improving regional traffic flow and reducing traffic congestion in Olneyville.
New pedestrian/bicycle routes: 1.4 miles of new bike paths will be constructed in two places over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor to connect pedestrians and bike riders traveling between Olneyville and the West End. Bike lanes will be added on an expanded Westminster Street overpass and on a newly rebuilt Tobey Street overpass. Broadway and Westminster Street will be redesigned using “complete streets” standards to make neighborhood roadways walkable, transit and bicycle-friendly.
Connects neighborhoods: To diminish the visual obstruction between Olneyville and the West End neighborhoods of Providence, approximately half the length of the Huntington Viaduct will be demolished. RIDOT will replace the Huntington Viaduct with surface roads that maintain adequate traffic conditions.
More greenspace and developable land: The Plainfield Street on-ramp will be eliminated to better connect city streets and open up more than four acres of additional real estate for development.
Eliminates Harris Avenue Crossing: New plan eliminates the challenging cross-over merge at the Harris Avenue on-ramp, letting Harris Avenue traffic access Route 10 South without merging through Route 6 West traffic. Access from Harris Avenue to Route 6 West will also be maintained.
Gateway aesthetics: Additional measures will be taken for landscaping, visual improvements and reduction of noise and neighborhood buffering. The new plan also includes a lighting arrangement similar to that used on the Sakonnet River Bridge. These improved aesthetics will create a signature entranceway to Providence from Route 6 and 10.