2014-01-23 / Editorial

Authority takes steps to improve bridge safety

Last week the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority announced measures designed to improve safety on the Newport Pell Bridge.

The announcement came in wake of two recently fatal head-on traffic accidents that have prompted people to question the lack of a center lane median on the bridge.

RITBA said it plans to install reflective plastic dividers on the bridge center lane. Bridge authority officials said the plastic dividers would be a temporary improvement, put in place until bridge officials are able to install a more substantial median on the bridge. The reflective plastic dividers would provide additional visibility to the center lane on the bridge and help alert drivers should they stray across the line.

In addition to the plastic dividers, RITBA plans to install speed cameras, ask for an increase in police patrols on the bridge, and launch a public awareness campaign about distracted driving.

We applaud the bridge authority for taking these steps. The bridge is a busy thoroughfare that has millions of cars traversing its span annually. Safety should be the upmost priority.

We hope that the bridge authority will continue with its efforts to install a center median on the bridge later this year. It will go a long way towards making the bridge a safer traffic corridor.

— Jeff McDonough

Return to top