Rhode Island officials unveil new design for $400 million 6/10 Interchange

Updated Dec 20, 2016
A rendering of the new design. Photo credit: RIDOTA rendering of the new design. Photo credit: RIDOT

Rhode Island officials have announced a new road design for the 6/10 Interchange in Providence aimed at improving safety, traffic flow and makes land available for development.

Gov. Gina M. Raimondo ordered a fast-track reconstruction of the 6/10 Interchange, considered the state’s “most traveled expressway.” The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) worked with the city of Providence to create a new design.

The project is valued at $400 million and RIDOT expects to advertise the contract by the end of January and for construction to begin in the fall of 2017.

“As Governor, I come to work every day focused on providing economic opportunity for all Rhode Islanders, and forward-thinking, 21st century transit infrastructure is core to our economic comeback,” says Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. “I commend my team at RIDOT, Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the many stakeholders whose input has helped to produce a 6/10 Interchange design to serve the needs of all Rhode Islanders.”

“This process relied on close coordination and intensive collaboration between the City, State and community stakeholders,” said Elorza. “This design meets many of the goals laid out during several community meetings and the final product was certainly enhanced because of it. Not only does it improve mobility throughout the entire stretch, but also better connects neighborhoods, builds a dedicated bike lane, opens up developable land, and incorporates better urban design.”

“Finally, after 30 years, we are going to rebuild the 6/10 interchange within the budget the legislature gave us,” says RIDOT Director Peter Alviti. “We will create a new infrastructure to improve the flow of traffic, give drivers the missing move to 6 west, and modify the geometry of the roads to make driving easier and eliminate the challenges people now face.”

6/10 Interchange plan highlights 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.