First Month of Iway Ramp Reduces Traffic Congestion

Fri February 13, 2009 - Northeast Edition

A review of travel times on I-95 South and I-195 East during the first month of motorists using the new Exit 20 to the Iway saw an overall improvement in travel times and average speeds, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced.

In the first week, travel times during the afternoon commute from Exit 26 (Lonsdale Avenue) to the Washington Bridge (approximately 5.5 mi.) was reduced by almost 17 percent and average speed increased by about 16 percent. Over the course of a month, travel times were reduced by more than 20 percent and average speeds were almost 10 percent higher. Some of these travel times were adversely impacted by rain and snow storms over the past month. Therefore, RIDOT anticipated that the travel times and average speeds will improve even further after the winter.

These travel times represent a reduction in travel times as compared with the week before new Exit 20 opened to traffic on December 6. These statistics only provide a snap shot of traffic conditions.

“These numbers help show that the improved traffic flow using the Iway is contributing to a shorter commute with less congestion during the afternoon rush hour,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “We are seeing the promise of safer, more efficient highway travel in Providence coming to fruition.”

The old Exit 20 was on the left-hand side of the highway, since it was initially constructed more than 50 years ago. In placing the new exit on the right-hand side of the highway, as is more common in highway design, motorists have an easier ride with fewer lane changes. Motorists entering I-95 South from Route 146 or the downtown ramps already are on the right side and they do not need to quickly change multiple lanes in a short distance to reach the I-195 East exit.

“We’re very pleased with how smoothly traffic has been moving during the first month of the new Exit 20 being open,” Lewis said. “We recognize this is a significant change in traffic patterns and urge motorists to continue to ’Take the RIGHT way to the Iway’ for I-195 East and keep left for I-95 South.”