Interstate 95 in Rhode Island
Interstate 95 or I -95 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. The highway forms a diagonal north-south route from the Connecticut border through the state capital Providence to the border with the state of Massachusetts. I-95 is the main highway in Rhode Island. The highway is 70 kilometers long.
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I-95 at Downtown Providence.
Near Westerly, Interstate 95 crosses the border into the state of Rhode Island in Connecticut. I-95 has 2×2 lanes here and leads through very densely wooded and slightly hilly area in a northeasterly direction. There are no real places on the route until just before the Providence metropolitan area. State Route 3 parallels I-95 a short distance through southern Rhode Island. The first suburbs are sparsely built and I-95 has 2×2 lanes left until the interchange with State Route 4, where traffic from the southern suburbs and coastal region merges. From here, I-95 has 2×4 lanes and heads north into the city of Providence.
Near TF Green Airport, Interstate 295 branches off as a bypass of Providence. Traffic can choose the bypass here, or the route of I-95 through downtown. I-95 will continue to have 2×4 lanes and the suburbs will become older densely built residential areas. In the suburb of Cranston, State Route 10 exits, then a junction with Interstate 195 follows on the south side of Downtown Providence. I-95 then runs 2×3 to 2×4 lanes around Downtown Providence and has multiple interchanges in quick succession with US 6 and State Route 146. The highway then runs in 2×3 lanes past the suburb of Pawtucket, before the border with the state of Massachusetts follows. TheInterstate 95 in Massachusetts then continues to Boston.
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In 1945, a plan was made for new highways in the Providence region, similar to those in neighboring states. However, the first section of I-95 opened outside the Providence area, and was a 14-mile stretch between the Connecticut border and Exit 4 at Richmond, which opened on December 12, 1955. In July 1958 a second section opened from Exit 6 at Warwick to Exit 8 at East Greenwich, a stretch of approximately 5 miles. The first section in Providence was the bridge over the Pawtucket River, which opened in 1958. Further north, however, it was difficult to obtain a right-of-way as this area was largely built up without a space reservationfor future infrastructure. In June 1963, a stretch opened from Exit 28 in Pawtucket to the Massachusetts border. In September 1963, a 2×4 lane section opened between Exit 18 and Exit 19 in Providence, connecting with Interstate 195, which ran east through East Providence.
In October 1964, an eight-lane section opened to Exit 24, which was the bypass of downtown Providence. At the same time, the connecting State Route 164, opening up the northern suburbs of Providence, also opened. In November 1965 this section was extended further north to Exit 27 in Pawtucket. In December 1965 a stretch opened from Exit 16 to Exit 18, through the southern suburb of Cranston.
The diversion of I-195 in Providence.
Later in the 1960s, it became more difficult to obtain financing for the last missing links. In November 1968, a major link between Exit 8 in Warwick and Exit 16 in Cranston opened, completing I-95 through the southern suburbs. On November 22, 1969, a 14-kilometer section between Exit 4 and Exit 6 opened in southern Rhode Island, completing the rural section as well.
I-95 has been constructed by Providence rather substandard to reduce the cost of getting the right-of-way. There are sharp bends and tight connections. The interchange with US 6, which is a highway, was built between 1988 and 1993. Particularly tricky was the interchange with I-195 in the center of Providence. This interchange has been drastically changed by rerouting I-195 south and rejoining I-95. This work was carried out between 2005 and 2009.
Between 2013 and 2018, two flyovers near Downtown Providence were replaced. These involved two overpasses at the junction with State Route 10. The replacement cost approximately $145 million. The capacity remained the same, but the two new viaducts were further apart.
Traffic volumes are approximately 45,000 vehicles in the rural area south of Warwick, rising to 150,000 vehicles through the southern suburbs of Warwick and Cranston and peaking at 180,000 vehicles in Providence, before dropping to 120,000 vehicles on the Massachusetts border at Pawtucket.