I-Way Project

This entry is part of a series of blog posts that highlight stories from other cities and regions that have faced challenges comparable to that of the Syracuse region and the I-81 corridor.  To read other blog posts in the series, click here.

When planning for the I-Way began, the I-195 corridor through downtown Providence was outdated, with narrow lanes, constrained merging areas, left exits, and other problematic features. The traffic volumes far exceeded the design capacity, and its deteriorated condition necessitated a change.

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process focused on several alternatives, including relocation of the elevated portion of I-195 to a new alignment that addressed the highway’s geometric issues. The plans also included extensive improvements to the local street network to alleviate existing congestion problems and to address any issues that might arise from the relocated highway. The final design relocated the existing road to a new alignment, which allowed for construction of the new road to occur while the existing one remained in operation. The final plan creates space for urban redevelopment, waterfront access, and improved traffic circulation and street connectivity.

The new I-Way, which was recently completed, incorporates numerous pedestrian amenities, including walkways along the Providence River, and allows much greater access to the waterfront. The design also includes a new signature – or landmark – bridge. Among the reasons that this project enjoyed solid support was the strong focus on urban design. The highway corridor itself was improved from an aesthetic standpoint, and new connections between downtown and the riverfront were established providing opportunities for redevelopment.

To read more about Providence’s new I-WAY corridor and how it compares with The I-81 Challenge process, check out a full version of the Case Study Report.

Photo courtesy of Provbenson2009 via Flickr Creative Commons

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