Reconstruction of the Newport Pell Bridge Approaches. Photo Credit: RIDOT

On Thursday night, October 6, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will change the traffic pattern on Route 138 East in Newport, shifting traffic onto the new Route 138 extension road to Admiral Kalbfus Road.

The new Route 138 extension will follow the path of a redesigned section of Halsey Street, according to a press release from RIDOT. Motorists entering Newport via the Pell Bridge will just continue along Route 138 as they do today and follow it to a new traffic signal at Admiral Kalbfus Road. To continue following Route 138 toward Middletown and Portsmouth, they will turn right at the traffic signal instead of left.

The change does not affect traffic on JT Connell Highway northbound, which will continue to use the elevated highway over Admiral Kalbfus Road, ending at the traffic signal in front of the former Newport Grand casino. That section of road will remain in service until next spring.

According to RIDOT, the $74 million Pell Bridge Ramps Phase 2 project is redesigning the road network connecting to the Pell Bridge to make travel into Newport easy and safe. It includes a new efficient ramp system that will reduce congestion, especially the backup of vehicles on the bridge from the Downtown Newport exit, and improve the connection between Newport’s North End and the downtown area. With a smaller footprint, the new design also will spur economic development as it frees up approximately 25 acres of land. It will be finished by the end of 2024. More details about the project are available at

All construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.

This bridge replacement project is made possible by RhodeWorks and the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Improvement Act.

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