December 28, 2016 12:00 PM, EST

Rhode Island DOT Eyes Federal Dollars to Fix Freight Corridor

Morrow Long/Flickr

Transportation officials in Rhode Island are looking to access federal dollars to help fix a critical freight corridor.

This month, the Department of Transportation announced it had applied for a $59 million federal grant to assist with an enhancement of the 6/10 Interchange, by Interstate 95 northbound and the Providence Viaduct northbound.

The $226.1 million project would aim to improve traffic flow from the 6/10 corridor, while enhancing pedestrian access, and creating 7.3 acres of park land. The grant would come from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies, or FASTLANE, freight program. The application deadline was Dec. 15.

"This is a competitive process, and I am pleased to support the state's application. This project has the opportunity to generate jobs and economic development while reducing congestion and improving public safety," Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking member on the transportation funding subcommittee, said in a statement the state DOT released Dec. 16.

"Rebuilding our highways and bridges creates jobs, protects drivers and makes Rhode Island a more attractive place to do business," added Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, also a Democrat from Rhode Island. "Rebuilding this interchange is an enormously important project for our state, and I will continue to fight for every federal dollar possible to get it done.”

The viaduct cuts through I-95 between S. Route 6/State Route 10 and State Route 146.

Built more than 50 years ago, corridor was designed to handle 57,000 vehicles a day. Today, it is estimated that 220,000 vehicles travel through it daily. Four of the six bridges along the corridor are in need of repairs. According to state transportation officials, the corridor experiences New England’s third highest volume of traffic.

FASTLANE grant recipients are expected to be announced in January.