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Officials to Install Temporary Median on Newport Pell Bridge

In response to a growing concern about saftey on the Newport Pell Bridge, officials will install a temporary reflective barrier and increase police enforcement.

The delineators are plastic yellow devices with reflectors intended to alert drivers to stay within their lane. (Photo Courtesy of RITBA)
The delineators are plastic yellow devices with reflectors intended to alert drivers to stay within their lane. (Photo Courtesy of RITBA)
Officials will install temporary delineators on the Newport Pell Bridge in response to a growing call for the installation of a permanent median, The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) announced Thursday morning. 

The barrier should be installed in two weeks, according to Beth Bailey, a RITBA spokeswoman. The delineators are plastic yellow devices with reflectors intended to alert drivers to stay within their lane.

On Christmas Eve, a 73-year-old man was killed in a head-on collision on the bridge. He was the third person killed on the bridge in just over 2 years.  

The installation will begin in about two weeks with the project costing around $70,000.

RITBA officials also announced they will take steps to reduce speeding and distracted driving on the bridge. They will install cameras on the bridge and issue letters to drivers with hopes that it will deter speeders, said Bailey. Additionally, Rhode Island State Police will increase the number of patrols on the bridge and ticket speeders.

Last week, Newport City Council unanimously voted to urge RIBTA to install a median on the bridge.  Middletown Town Council passed a similar resolution two days earlier

RIBTA will vote on permanent barriers at their March board meeting.

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William Gayle January 17, 2014 at 07:00 AM
Why don't we spend $70000 on fixing the horrendous roads first?
Melissa Martin Ellis January 17, 2014 at 09:12 AM
This is encouraging news. Protective barriers need to be placed on the bridge. It's a good first step.
C Wayne Craft January 17, 2014 at 10:53 AM
What a farce! My family and I will feel so much safer with those yellow sticks separating us from seeding drivers looking at their text messages. Isn't it great that the police authorities can tell us how many 'head - on crashes ' since 1998. (49), but fail to show how many traffic citations were issued for speeding over that same period of time. Perhaps RIBTA can come up with another study on why people feel that don't have to drive at the posted speed , or why televised monitoring of violators isn't viable. Wayne Craft Newport
Nellie Sabin January 18, 2014 at 03:30 PM
"the authority has been studying barriers since 2006" (per article) Seriously? EIGHT YEARS with no suggestions? They have blood on their hands.
Susan Pratt January 21, 2014 at 10:37 AM
I cannot understand why they had to start construction during rush hour instead of 9:00 like they do with other bridge construction. I come across the bridge daily around 8:00 a.m. and this morning's commute was an absolute nightmare. What are they thinking??? As if the yellow sticks are really going to change anything, anyway. Stop the speeding and you'll stop the overwhelming majority of crashes. ARGHH!!

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