RITBA Is About To Go Bob Ross On The Newport Bridge Traffic Map

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Crossing the Claiborne Pell Bridge is going to get a lot less fun from Monday, March 28th through Wednesday, April 13th.

In recent memory, crossing the Newport Bridge has rarely been a flawless experience. There’s always repair work happening and one lane or another will be closed. This is by no means a bad thing. If you want to see what happens when bridge maintenance isn’t done, look over to the Sakonnet River.

That said, if you commute over the bridge during rush hour, things are about to get a lot worse.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) today announced that it will be closing the high speed lanes (known as open road tolling or ORT lanes) to install new hardware and digital infrastructure in order to modernize the Newport Pell Bridge’s tolling apparatus. The closure of the high speed lanes is expected to last from Monday, March 28th until Wednesday, April 13th though construction and installation of the equipment is dependent on the weather. The Authority is anticipating traffic delays particularly during the morning and evening commutes.

Roughly translated into Google Mapspeak, this means…

Bob Ross Newport Bridge Traffic Red

So for a couple weeks, everyone traversing the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge will get to travel back in time to a world where you can’t simple fly past the toll booths at speed in the high speed lane. No, you’re going to have go back to playing the game where you see what the fastest you can get through the toll plaza without ramming the gate (or the car in front of you) is. If you’ve never done this before, don’t actually start.

Newport Bridge Bad Time

Regardless, the fact remains that we’re in that awkward time of year called Springtime, AKA Nature’s Puberty. For Newporters, it can be a bit of a shock, because in regards to most roadworks and construction, we suddenly go from nothing to a massive rush to get everything finished before “The Season” starts. If you’re a local, this means as soon as temperatures reach 50º, you’re looking at traffic until October/November.

One glimmer of hope is the conservative nature of RITBA’s estimates when it comes to this kind of thing. Last fall they announced that they were going to spend two weeks closing lanes on the Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge. Some ridiculously short time into the process (2-3 days), they announced that things were actually fine and they were done.

So fingers crossed, everyone…

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast Traffic Correspondent

Tristan's just this guy, ya know?