Interstate 195 serves regional traffic demands, joining Providence, Rhode Island and the I-95 corridor with Fall River, New Bedford and Cape Cod in southeast Massachusetts. With auxiliary lanes, the nearly 45 mile long route accommodates as many as ten lanes.
Starting in Downtown Providence across the Iway Bridge over Providence Harbor, I-195 travels to East Providence, Rhode Island and suburban areas of Seekonk and Swansea, Massachusetts. East from there, I-195 crosses the Taunton River on the Braga Bridge to the city of Fall River, where the freeway passes below the Fall River Government Center through a cut and cover tunnel. Route 24 also overlaps with I-195 between separate freeways leading south to Tiverton, R.I. and north to Taunton, Mass.
Continuing east from Fall River, Interstate 195 parallels U.S. 6 through rural sections of Westport and Dartmouth with six overall lanes. The freeway narrows to four lanes across the city of New Bedford, where it spans the Acushnet River along a short causeway. Curving northeast, I-195 heads through Fairhaven, Mattapoisett and Marion to the exchange with Interstate 495 and Route 25 in Wareham.
Massachusetts Route 25 extends the Interstate 495 freeway east from I-195 to Buzzards Bay, U.S. 6 and the Bourne Bridge to Cape Cod. The Bourne Bridge provides one of two spans across Cape Cod Canal, with U.S. 6 east over the Sagamore Bridge being the other.
Initially planned as Interstate 95E in 1957, the East Providence Expressway was renumbered as I-195 in 1959. Work on the route through Providence was already underway by 1956, with a one mile section completed through the Jewelry District in 1958. Construction of I-195 through East Providence was underway in 1957, and completed to the state line in 1960.1
Interstate 195 was originally proposed east only as far as New Bedford, Massachusetts. Construction on the freeway in the Bay State started in 1958, with the first segment opened to traffic between Seekonk and Swansea in 1960. Another seven miles of I-195 were completed from Exit 3 to Exit 10 in Westport in 1965.1
Interstate 195 completed from Providence to U.S. 6 and Route 118 in 1963.
Work on I-195 east to Massachusetts Route 18 in New Bedford continued to 1968. The remaining 14 miles east from there were built between 1968 and 1974, and signed as a new alignment for U.S. 6. With AASHTO approval on June 17, 1975, Interstate 195 was formally extended eastward to Route 25 in Wareham, with U.S. 6 shifted back to its former course.1
Costing $610 million, the Iway Project in Providence, Rhode Island relocated 1.6 miles of Interstate 195 onto a new seven-span, 1,250 foot long bridge3 over the Providence River. The 2,000 foot realignment of I-195 passes south of the Hurricane Barrier along the Providence River, connecting with a new three-wye interchange with Interstate 95 to the west, and leading east to India Point Park. Improvements included rebuilding a 0.8-mile section of I-95 as well.4
The Iway Project addressed regular congestion along the curved portions of both I-95 and I-195 south of Downtown Providence. Work involved 14 new bridges, including the eight lane Iway Bridge. 20 acres of land were made available for redevelopment along the former I-195 right of way. The Iway Bridge was constructed off site and transported by barge in August 2006 for installation.4 The main span is a 400 foot long network arch bridge.3
The new Iway Bridge opened to eastbound traffic on November 4, 2007. Westbound traffic shifted to the span on June 18, 2009.5 Final work on the Iway Project wrapped up by the end of 2010.3