Photo Credit: Kenneth C. Zirkel |This work is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

On Thursday night, April 13, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will open a new dedicated on-ramp from JT Connell Highway northbound onto Route 138 West toward the Pell Bridge. The change will reduce congestion and make it easier for drivers coming from Downtown Newport to merge onto Route 138.

With the opening of the new ramp, RIDOT will remove the traffic signal for the right turn onto Route 138 West, which had been in place temporarily through the winter. Traffic will have its own lane onto Route 138 West toward the bridge and will not have to stop or yield. The change also will allow two lanes westbound from the JT Connell Connector Road onto the Pell Bridge.

The opening of the new ramp is the latest in a series of traffic pattern changes RIDOT is implementing this year, with the goal of making improvements prior to the busy summer tourism season. They include:

By late April, RIDOT will conduct a weekend closure of Admiral Kalbfus Road at the former Route 138 overpass for its demolition.

By Memorial Day, RIDOT will realign the intersection of Farewell Street and America’s Cup Avenue to eliminate the sharp curve at the start of America’s Cup Avenue which will improve safety and traffic circulation. In addition, the Department plans to activate a new traffic signal with pedestrian crossing features at the intersection.

RIDOT will announce the exact dates of the bridge demolition and Farewell Street improvements well in advance.

The $74 million Pell Bridge Ramps Phase 2 project is rebuilding 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.

Additional information about the project and the latest traffic pattern changes will be posted at The web page also has a form anyone can use to sign-up to receive regular project updates emailed directly to them.

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

The Pell Bridge Ramps Phase 2 Project is made possible by RhodeWorks, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Improvement and Jobs Act. RIDOT is committed to bringing Rhode Island’s infrastructure into a state of good repair while respecting the environment and striving to improve it. Learn more at

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