Greater City Providence

Editorial: I-Way Quality Job 1?


Photo from RIDOT

Driving home the other day and taking the new on-ramp to 195 off of 95 South, I couldn’t help but think about Jef Nickerson’s comments here on the blog regarding how outrageous it is that our 23 year old Amrak station is already in need of heavy renovation. Exiting off 95, my car met the new ramp to 195 with a decided “thud” as the pavement between the ramp and the highway already has a dimpled depression in its left lane. Far from glass smooth, the concrete of the ramp mildly reverberates through the car with an “erer-erer-erer-erer” sound until hitting the bridge, where things quiet down. Good luck seeing what lane you’re in while driving, though, as some of the white lane markers are actually a bit hard to make out since they, incredibly, appear to be rubbing off and fading away. This is all quite remarkable for a roadway which hasn’t been open as long as some milk has been sitting on supermarket shelves.

The distressing quality of build of the Big Dig in Boston has been well documented, and experiences like this one on our Little Dig feel depressing similar to driving its big brother to the North. Is this ramp going to be a pitted, pot-holed mess in 15 years? Why does it already look 20 years old and not pristine from day one? Why doesn’t it give me confidence it’s going to be in great shape in 30 or 50 years?

As repairing and replacing our current woeful roads, rail, bridges, and tunnels gets a hard look as a stimulus measure, let’s make sure we’re not building the infrastructure crisis of 2059 right now…

Bret Ancowitz


  • Even if public infrastructure funding were increased to the level proposed in the “stimulus” bill, there still wouldn’t be enough money to repair what we already have.

    That makes the brand-new proposed highways out to the Utah deserts, which will be funded through the bill, even more the absurd.

    The fact is we just have way too much road infrastructure, and way too many cars, for the size of our economy. As China and India continue to catch up every year, we’ll be falling farther and farther behind on our deferred maintenance policy.

    In other words, new federal policies that reduce VMTs and promote alternative forms of transportation, rather than endless highway expansion, are drastically needed.

  • I like how you can walk under the new 195 onramps that aren’t even done yet and there are rusty spots on the metal. You would think that after totally wasting the last highway we had and not taking care of it to the point that it started literally falling apart (yeah, look at how we propped up the 195 overpasses with scaffolds and girders), we would maybe, you know, send someone out to inspect, sand, and paint every few months.

    I can’t possibly put into words how frustrated I am with this state’s handling of infrastructure spending. I’m scared that the stimulus package -will- pass.

    We need to fix the problem here -before- we ‘feed the beast’. Something is VERY wrong with how we budget, plan, build, and maintain our infrastructure here in Rhode Island.

  • Build better transit infrastructure, and you won’t have to worry about the Iway. I’m not convinced that we’re any worse with infrastructure spending here than most places. We just happen to have a lot less money to begin with.

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