Interstate 195 Rhode Island / Massachusetts
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
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
East End – Wareham, MA
West End – Providence, RI
Total Mileage – 44.55
Rhode Island – 3.82
Cities – Providence, East Providence
- Junctions –
Massachusetts – 40.73
Cities – Fall River, Somerset, New Bedford, Fairhaven
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-195 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Source: 2015 AADT Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Traffic Flow Map 2016
2019 AADT – Mass Highway Traffic Data Management System
The initial section of Interstate 195 connected U.S. 6/44 with Pine and Friendship Streets west of the Providence River
Massachusetts previously continued the sequential exit numbering system for Interstate 195 started in Rhode Island. Exits 10, 11 and 12 here are now Exits 4, 5 and 6.
East End – near Wareham, Massachusetts
East End Throwback
A vintage ground level sign directed motorists onto Interstate 195 west from Route 25 west at Exit 1. Photo by Douglas Kerr (04/20/02).
West End – Providence, Rhode Island
Construction from 2005 to 2010 associated with the Iway Project added high speed flyovers linking I-95 and I-195. The previous exchange included left exit ramps. U.S. 6 west merges onto I-95 north to the Memorial Drive interchange while Exit 1B departs from the southbound entrance ramp for Eddy Street and Rhode Island Hospital. 10/06/14
Construction started in 2014 for the Providence Viaduct replacement project rebuilt the southbound lanes of I-95 to the exchange with U.S. 6 west and Memorial Boulevard east. New signs were installed along this stretch in 2015, including a side mounted sign for I-195 east ahead of the Smith Street overpass. Photo by H.B. Elkins (05/31/13).
West End Throwback
Page updated May 7, 2020.