RIDOT gets $20M federal grant for Pell Bridge ramp realignment

RIDOT received a $20 million federal grant for a project to realign and consolidate the Newport-side ramp system for the Pell Bridge. / COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
RIDOT received a $20 million federal grant for a project to realign and consolidate the Newport-side ramp system for the Pell Bridge. / COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

NEWPORT – The R.I. Department of Transportation has received a $20 million federal grant to support a project to realign the Newport Pell Bridge ramp system in order to improve safety, reduce traffic, improve efficiency and to clear up land around the bridge, Sen. Jack Reed announced Thursday.

The funds come from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant program.

RIDOT has estimated the project will cost $66.1 million total and is currently in the design phase. RIDOT previously received a $5 million federal grant to jump-start the state and local planning process for the project.

Reed said that the revamp, which will reduce the on-ramp’s footprint, will free up 30 acres of land in an area recently designated an Opportunity Zone. The land will be part of the planned Newport Innovation Hub for applied research and commercialization for companies focused on resilience, ocean and defense technologies.

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“This is an exciting investment opportunity for Newport that could really transform the gateway to the city while relieving traffic congestion and improving mobility,” stated Reed.

RIDOT noted that it continues to seek public comment on the proposed project and must submit an environmental assessment to the Federal Highway Administration for approval before moving forward with preliminary work scheduled for the spring or summer of 2019.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.