Providence Viaduct

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Providence Viaduct
Providence Viaduct.JPG
View of Providence Viaduct (on left).
Carries I-95 / I-195 / US 6 / Route 146
Crosses Woonasquatucket River, Amtrak lines,
Maintained by RIDOT
Opened 1964; 50 years ago (1964)

The Providence Viaduct refers to the two 4-lane bridges in each direction of Interstate 95 (I-95) that passes through downtown Providence, Rhode Island, in the United States. The structure passes over the Woonasquatucket River and Amtrak lines. It also connects with Interstate 195, U.S. Route 6 (US 6), and Route 146. The bridge was built in 1964 and rehabilitated in 1992.[1]

As of June 2012, the bridge is functionally obsolete and rapidly deteriorating. Several of the support beams have crumbled significantly to reveal the steel girders underneath. Additionally, the lower part of the deck has had to be boarded to prevent fragments of the bridge from landing on the streets and railway tracks under the viaduct.[2] The state has been scrambling to secure $170 million needed to replace the entire viaduct.[3] Further delays in the replacement of the bridge would lead to significant congestion if emergency repairs are conducted and may necessitate banning trucks from driving over the bridge as had been done on the Pawtucket River Bridge and the Sakonnet River Bridge.[4]

Given the number of major roads that merge on the Providence Viaduct (I-95, I-195, US 6, and Route 146) and its poor layout, it has frequent accidents and is responsible for much of the traffic jams on I-95.[5] The current plans to replace the Viaduct do not make any changes to the current junctions with other critical highways. Consequently, it has been argued that the new design of the bridge does little to alleviate the bottlenecks especially the on- and off-ramps from exit 22 joining those for exit 23 (Route 146), further wasting taxpayer dollars.


  1. ^ Staff (PDF). RIDOT Owned Bridges: National Bridge Inventory (NBI)-By Municipality (Report). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. p. 13. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  2. ^ Staff. "I-95 Providence Viaduct: One of Rhode Island’s Key Links to the Nation" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ Staff. "Project Description". I-95 Providence Viaduct: Rhode Island’s Vital Connection to the Nation. Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 12, 2012. 
  4. ^
  5. ^