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NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — A new on-ramp to the Newport Pell Bridge will open up Thursday, making trips from downtown to the city’s north end a bit smoother.
As the summer months inch closer, the goal is to alleviate congestion in the area by connecting J.T. Connell Highway to Route 138. This will also eliminate the need for a traffic light and drivers will no longer need to stop or yield.
As dirt and sand whipped through the city on Wednesday, construction crews were hard at work getting ready for the ramp to open, something City Councilor and former Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano said she’s excited for.
“I think it will help,” Napolitano said. “I think it will alleviate the traffic—particularly in the north end—the backup on the bridge. I think it’s been well-thought-out, well-planned, and long- awaited.”
And with summer just around the corner, a time when tourism booms in Newport, Napolitano said the timing couldn’t be better.
“I’m so glad for the people of Newport. It’s going to make a big difference in the number of visitors we receive,” she said.
RIDOT said at some point in late April, it will be closing part of Admiral Kalbfus Road at the former Route 138 overpass so it can be demolished, which Napolitano joked she had some interest in.
“I asked him if I could blow it up,” she said.
RIDOT plans to be finished with Phase 2 of the project by the end of 2024. The entire project is set to cost $74 million.
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