Greater City Providence

ProJo: State to fast-track Route 6-10 connector project, abandon surface boulevard


RIDOT’s Original Design for the 6/10 interchange

Governor Raimondo has ordered a fast-track reconstruction of the Route 6 and 10 interchange and the abandonment of plans to rebuild the highway under an earthen cap, state officials said Wednesday.

The decision to rebuild the highways in their current footprint — and scrap a design favored by Department of Transportation leaders just this spring — was prompted by safety concerns and the deteriorating condition of the overpasses, said DOT Director Peter Alviti Jr.

I.E. the public hates how we’re spending thier money, so let’s spend it faster.

Along with abandoning the capped highway plan, Raimondo’s move all but dismisses the possibility of replacing the highway with a surface boulevard, a design that drew overwhelming support from attendees of a public forum on the 6-10 held last week by the city of Providence.


Alviti said the disruption to commuters that a boulevard would create was unacceptable.

Translation, people in the suburbs are more important than people who live in the city next to the suburban infrastructure.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • “Closure or a restriction of traffic … across this bridge is a real possibility that would result in a significant disruption of commuter and freight traffic throughout the area,” [Carlos Machado, the FHWA’s local administrator] wrote.

    I’m pretty sure the bridges have to be closed to rebuild them. So… How is rebuilding as is avoiding this?

  • You translated that correctly Similarly people coming downtown by car are much more important than those by bus since the powers that be are advocating moving the buses out of Kennedy Plaza to the middle of nowhere like somewhere off Allens Avenue. while bulding new garages, paving over another part of the State House lawn for even more parking….As for the 6-10, not unless the city leadership really wants to fight this and use up a lot of political capital there doesn’t seem much the public can do, other than vote against Raimondo at the next opportunity in hopes a less anti-city Governor can be elected. (Recall she also was a big fan of Citizens Bank relocating thousands of jobs from built up areas to a site west of I-295 requiring new interchange there, a sewer line extension..)

  • awful, awful, awful in just about every way imaginable.. I think I need a spiked Awful Awful now…

  • It still needs to go through NEPA, right? Let’s start writing those comment letters…

  • I was at that public forum, the consensus was clear, we don’t want to see the highway rebuilt. Terrible situation but I’m not surprised, RIDOT director was against the boulevard idea from the start. What a sham. As someone who lives near the 6/10 this is so SO infuriating. Wasted opportunity to better Providence for years to come, no instead we will dig this scar deeper into the city. If we spend millions or billions rebuilding this stupid highway then I doubt we’ll ever have the chance to mend that scar again in our lifetimes. What a disgusting mess to pass down to future generations.

  • What’s the point of public forums, and continued public forums after the decision was made? I pass through the 6/10 everyday and is very disappointing news. SO RI though right??

  • I guess I retract my last comment. From the updated Projo article:

    “Federal Highway Administration Division Administrator Carlos Machado wrote to the state on Aug. 15 that the Huntington Viaduct should receive “a high priority for rehabilitation or replacement,” and according to state DOT Director Peter Alviti Jr., promised Rhode Island an exemption from federal environmental review to replace the bridge in its current footprint.”


  • But RIDOT’s plan to rebuild as is (‘as is’ being a straight up highway, no boulevards or caps or bike lanes or BRT or anything) has always involved moving Route 6 to the south, not replacing it in place.

    So have they been drawing up plans for this new replace in place option for months, waiting to pull the public safety card out of their pockets?

  • Statement from the Providence Planning Department:

    Thank you for your participation in a great public meeting last week. We appreciate your time and your input and would like to let you know how we are going to proceed forward, given the new information that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) released yesterday. After years of deferred maintenance, many of the bridges along the 6-10 corridor are in critical need of attention. We share RIDOT’s concern for public safety and for the condition of our infrastructure, however we believe that our community should not have to choose between public safety and enhancing the quality of life along the 6-10 corridor. Over the next several weeks, we will continue to meet with RIDOT and our design consultants at Utile and Nelson Nygaard to integrate the feedback that we heard from you into the next phase of their work, and find a path forward that is responsible, prudent, and contributes to the strength and vitality of our neighborhoods.

    We remain committed to working with both the community and RIDOT on this project and will accelerate our work to fit into the demanding schedule required to ensure that public safety is maintained. As we move through the next few weeks, we will update you on project status and next steps.

    We welcome your input and feedback at If you haven’t already, please sign up for our 6/10 newsletter at

    We look forward to continuing to work with you all on this important project.

  • Statement from Fix the 6-10 posted to their Facebook page:

    The fix the 6-10 Coalition which consists of dozens of civic-minded organizations and businesses from Providence and across Rhode Island is appalled by Governor Raimondo’s announcement today that RI DOT will be proceeding to immediately reconstruct the existing Rt. 6-10 highway through Providence’s West Side.

    We agree that the 6-10 Connector needs to be fixed. But let’s get this right. We’re afraid the Governor has been given some very bad advice from her Transportation team.

    Investing $400 million dollars of Rhode Works money, funded with long-term debt and increased tolls, to reconstruct the connector “as is” does nothing to address traffic congestion–or public health, climate change, economic development, or the state’s long-run fiscal health.

    This will be among the most expensive highway interchanges in the world; with no plan to pay for long-term maintenance.

    Every dollar spent on this road is a dollar not spent rebuilding a bridge elsewhere in the state, for a road that Providence doesn’t even want. We hope that other cities and towns realize what’s at stake and contact their representatives and the Governor’s office.

    Replacing the 6-10 Connector as is will do nothing to improve traffic. Leaving out even a connection between Route 10 North bound and Route 6 West RIDOT dooms Olneyville to traffic congestion for generations. RIDOT has not conducted a thorough traffic study or model of future demand made public — no one has done their homework.

    There are other options. For example when I-95’s Pawtucket River Bridge was failing, the state didn’t hesitate to ban heavy trucks from using it until the replacement was complete. RIDOT can lengthen the lifespan of the 6-10 bridges by banning heavy vehicles and closing lanes, restricting cars to those lanes best supported by the existing infrastructure. Doing so would give planners and engineers more time to develop a new design to replace the current one, which fails every user type as well as the neighborhoods through which it passes.

    We believe that a surface boulevard would actually improve commuter experience by solving problems getting on and off the road where backups occur while allowing us to meet some of the many other goals for Rhode Islanders. But so far RIDOT has resisted any effort to explore lower cost, more sustainable solutions.

    The State has not done any adequate community engagement work. Indeed it has run roughshod over the City of Providence and dozens of civic organizations who have been seeking to create a new vision for the route that serves the State’s long-term interests. For example, this road will last 50 years; if rebuilt how will the state achieve its climate change emissions reduction targets?

    We challenge the Governor to make her decision again after walking from Olneyville to the West End and experiencing the terrible toll this antiquated design inflicts on the City and State.

    This is an embarrassment for the State of Rhode Island. We are trying to reinvent the state’s economy for the high-paid jobs of the future… but keeps coming up with rehashed failed ideas from the 1960’s. Let’s not make our children and grandchildren pay for a terrible highway in Providence, which Providence doesn’t even want.

  • Regardless of the final form of the 6/10 corridor, a bridge that carries Route 6 over the train tracks will have to be constructed in some form. The train tracks are a barrier that needs to be bridged, it is a known obstacle that no plan would remove. And that is the bridge that is all of a sudden an emergency.

    So… let’s rebuild it in such a way that does not preclude any of the alternatives. Go ahead, build it for a highway, but allow it to modified into a boulevard with bus lanes or something else that may come forward as a preferred alternative.

  • I appreciate the work of the Fix the 6-10 but I cannot agree a surface roadway “will improve the commuter experience” at least for those using the expressways to get to I-95 or I-195, though those actually going downtown and have to get off anyway might be OK by having more choices as to how to get to the city. I can understand the desire to please everybody but to some extent this is a city vs suburb issue and I think some attention should be given to helping suburban interests by having some appropriate park and rides, maybe local commuter rail on adjacent tracks with a stop in Cranston.

  • The Connector can go away, and suburbanites can still use Route 10 to the south to connect to I-95 at the Friendly interchange. It’s what people did until the Connector was completed in 1990. The Connector should be for local connectivity into and around Providence, not for regional trips between Johnston and wherever.

  • This situation is embarrassing. I’m at a loss for words over this news. I mean, I don’t even understand how this administration could be so blind to the reality of the situation. This just feels like willful ignorance. There must be some avenue to properly fight this process, right? Can we file a lawsuit over this, or something? Is there anybody out there with a better grasp on our options that could suggest a legitimate course of action to oppose this, that isn’t just letter writing or petition signing?