Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

RIDOT Establishes New Freeway Connection from I-95 to Quonset Business Park

Construction will reduce congestion and increase efficiency, leaves out alternative transportation methods

Last month, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation received $81 million in federal funding to establish a new freeway connection between I-95 highway and Quonset Business Park, which will allow RIDOT to "complete the 'missing move' at the interchange of I-95 and Route 4," according to the organization's website.

The construction of two new highway ramps, a new roundabout and three missing ramps from local roads to Route 4 "will allow direct travel from Route 4 to I-95 in all directions." 

According to the QDC, Quonset Business Park — an industrial park of over 3,200 acres — is home to more than 200 companies and 13,000 jobs within the state. Quonset Business Park is also home to “one of every six manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island,” according to the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) characterized the construction as a “forward-looking investment in growing Rhode Island’s economy,” in an email to The Herald. He added that the “missing move … will also improve traffic flow and help thousands of Rhode Islanders get to and from work quicker and more efficiently,” and keep trucks off of local roads in North Kingstown.


According to RIDOT, the new freeway connection will enable vehicles to drive faster than 50 miles per hour by 2057 in places where, without the connection, traffic congestion would force them to drive between 10 and 30 miles per hour.

In prior years, Rhode Island officials have worked to expand transportation options into the area. In 2019, RIPTA launched a free pilot bus program from Kennedy Plaza to Quonset Business Park.

From 2019 until June 2022, the Quonset Express, or Qx bus, ran free of charge. The Qx intended to offer workers within the city an accessible and affordable way of reaching Quonset Park,  according to RIPTA’s press release

But since then, RIPTA has identified the route as low performing and plans to eliminate the line. From September of 2022 to August of 2023, only about five passengers rode Route Qx per trip, wrote Cristy Raposo Perry, RIPTA’s director of communications and public outreach, in an email to The Herald. 

Perry attributed the service cut to RIPTA’s driver shortages. “Since transit plays such a vital role in the lives of individuals and communities throughout Rhode Island, RIPTA would much prefer to expand rather than diminish the service it provides,” she wrote. But “the labor shortage, which is affecting transit agencies nationwide, has a direct impact on the level of service that RIPTA can provide.”

Perry noted that RIPTA has conducted “extensive recruitment efforts,” but drivers are retiring at a quicker rate than RIPTA can replace them.

In general, using public transportation reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the elimination of the bus route, RIDOT estimates that this “missing move” project will reduce approximately 500 metric tons of greenhouse gases per year, according to their press release. 

In November, RIDOT published its Carbon Reduction Strategy, which made it eligible to receive over $35.7 million in federal funding to use on carbon reduction projects in line with the Federal Highway Administration’s Carbon Reduction Program. The new proposed freeway connection between I-95 and Quonset Business Park is one such project that will address “carbon emissions by means of congestion reduction.”

Carbon reduction projects include an additional “$6.3 million for upgrades to signals in ‘congested corridors’ and $4 million for a bridge overpass — out of $15.8 million total for congestion management,” The Herald previously reported.  

Emily Koo ’13, the senior policy advocate and R.I. program director at the Acadia Center, believes that increasing public transportation within R.I. is one solution to carbon emissions and expressed disappointment that Route Qx is going to be eliminated. 


She added, “fully connecting the entire state to the employment center of the Quonset Business Park must be tackled not only through a more direct connection to I-95, but also through frequent, reliable public transportation.” 

“Rhode Island’s transportation sector is not on track to meeting its proportionate Act on Climate mandates to reduce emissions 45% by 2030 and to reach net zero emissions by 2050,” Koo said. 

RIDOT has not disclosed when construction to build the freeway connection from I-95 to Quonset Business Park is scheduled to begin, but David Preston, spokesperson for the Quonset Development Corporation, acknowledges that these types of projects take time to be successful. 

“The bedrock of success (in R.I.) is the infrastructure,” Preston said. “It's not something that's done in one shot. It's a multi-year, step by step, thoughtful approach, to building up your infrastructure. This is one more brick in that process.”

Get The Herald delivered to your inbox daily.

Sanai Rashid

Sanai Rashid was raised in Brooklyn and now lives in Long Island, New York. As an English and History concentrator, she is always looking for a way to amplify stories and histories previously unheard. When she is not writing, you can find her trying new pizza places in Providence or buying another whale stuffed animal.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.