CRANSTON, R.I. — U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, both Rhode Island Democrats, Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti and other state and local leaders today gathered on Phenix Avenue in Cranston to break ground for the $85 million Cranston Canyon Project.
According to a news release, the project will address deteriorated bridges along the western end of Route 37 and its intersection with I-295, making many safety improvements along the “canyon” section of I-295 — the nickname given for the rocky outcropping on this section of the Interstate.
The improvements also will reduce chronic congestion issues on both highways, which reduces vehicle emissions.
The Cranston Canyon is a design-build project and was awarded to Aetna Bridge with AECOM, the lead design firm.
“The design-build process is advantageous because it often provides innovative solutions to the construction of the project, including keeping traffic moving through these busy corridors with the least amount of disruption possible,” according to the news release. “It also allows design and construction activities to take place at the same time. This approach, in concert with the use of accelerated bridge construction methods, will shave a year off the construction schedule.”
“RIDOT is able to move ahead with this project thanks in large part to the efforts of our Congressional delegation which once more went to bat for us and helped secure a $21 million federal BUILD grant,” Alviti said. “With these extra funds, we have been able to put together a very comprehensive project to solve traffic problems, fix deteriorated bridges and make these highways safer; all in a single project.”
Highlights of the Cranston Canyon Project include:
- Rebuilding six bridges and building one new bridge along the Route 37 corridor west of Pontiac Avenue in Cranston.
- Creating a third lane at I-295 North with new pavement and minor widening, which will work as an auxiliary lane from the Route 37 interchange to the Route 6 interchange in Johnston.
- Shifting the ramp from Route 37 East to I-295 North from the high-speed lane to the right lane, improving safety and reducing conflicting movements.
- Repositioning the ramp from I-295 North to Route 37 West to eliminate a conflicting weave.
- Widening the ramp from Route 37 West to I-295 North to improve sight lines and reduce crashes.
The Cranston Canyon project will be completed in 2026.
“It continues RIDOT’s efforts to address all the bridges on the Route 37 corridor, representing a second phase which began in 2020 with the $79.5 million Route 37 Bridges Project,” according to the news release. “That project is addressing 15 bridges from Post Road to Pontiac Avenue and is scheduled to be finished in 2023.”
Approximately 84,000 vehicles travel on I-295 North between Route 37 and Route 14 and 36,500 vehicles travel on Route 37, west of Pontiac Avenue.
The Cranston Canyon Project is made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT’s ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island’s transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair, promote economic development, and create jobs. Learn more at www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks.
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