Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
News : Recent Press Releases     Op-Ed     Publications     About the Legislative Press Bureau Printer Friendly View
2/29/2024 Whip Kazarian introduces legislation mandating monthly I-195 bridge updates
STATE HOUSE – House Majority Whip Katherine S. Kazarian has introduced legislation (2024-H 7759) that would require the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to produce a monthly public report on the status of the I-195 bridge project.        
“Aside from the obvious stress and inconvenience that this bridge closure has caused for so many of our residents, the lack of clear information regarding this significant problem has been particularly frustrating for so many people.  Although the people of East Providence and Providence have been the most impacted by the closure of the Washington Bridge, residents across the East Bay and the state are also feeling the effects of this transportation disaster.  The public deserves transparency and accountability regarding this bridge closure that has upended their daily lives and this legislation will help deliver that to the residents of Rhode Island.  This bill is a product of true collaboration between all of the East Bay legislators because we all want answers about when the bridge will be safely reopened and when we all can return to normalcy on our daily commutes,” said Whip Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence, Pawtucket).
“This information is crucial to the General Assembly so that we can plan and help expedite whatever course of action that is necessary to get this major roadway reopened safely and as soon as possible.  Our small businesses have also been severely impacted by the bridge closure and the more information that they have at their disposal, the better their chances are of protecting their small business.  The public and our small businesses have been extraordinarily patient, but they also deserve answers and transparency about how this happened and when it will be fixed,” said Rep. Matthew S. Dawson (D-Dist. 65, East Providence), the first cosponsor of the legislation.
The legislation would require RIDOT to submit an updated report on the I-195 bridge that would be made available to the public on the 1st of each month. The report would also be sent to the Speaker of the House, the Senate President, the chairs of the House and Senate Finance Committees and the governor’s office.  The report must be signed and verified by the director of RIDOT each month and the director would have to check an attestation box to confirm the accuracy of the information in the report.
Within the report, several pieces of information would have to be provided, including:
  • An updated timeline on the fate of the Washington Bridge, including if the timeline has changed since the last report and if so, why?
  • A list all of the consulting firms that are currently contracted to work on the Washington Bridge, including what each firm is researching and when their next report will be due.
  • Any adjustments that have been made to the traffic patterns since the last report and updated data on the number, location, and time of all accidents and breakdowns that have occurred on the Washington Bridge.  Updated data on any reported delays or issues pertaining to emergency vehicles would also be required.
  • What are the average maximum traffic delay times during the weekday morning rush (7 a.m. – 10 a.m.) and the weekday afternoon rush (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)?
  • What are the average maximum traffic delays during the weekend and at what times during the weekend are the traffic delays the longest?
  • What are the projected costs for fixing the Washington Bridge and what are the projected costs for demolishing and rebuilding the Washington Bridge?
  • What are the current overtime costs associated with the bridge, such as traffic detail and other new costs incurred due to the bridge closure?
  • Providing an economic overview of the effects of the diverted bridge traffic on the Providence and East Providence roads.
  • Updates pertaining to any pending investigations and audits.       
The bill was also cosponsored by Reps. Jennifer Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence), Jason Knight (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren), June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol), Susan R. Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth), Michelle E. McGaw (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) and Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown).
The legislation has been referred to the House State Government and Elections Committee.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903