Rhode Island Roads - RI 238

RI 238

The Newport Harbor/Goat Island Lighthouse seen facing north from the Goat Island bridge. Though unsigned with no hint of state maintenance, RI 238 begins on the island and heads over to Newport.


Van Zandt Ave. heading west from RI 238 with a great view of what would have been the ramp from RI 138 EB to I-895 SB. Well, up to now, I haven't told you about I-895. There will be a whole lot more coming. Obviously, it's an unbuilt north-south freeway, and obviously in some way RI 238 is involved. The story continues...

Getting a lot closer to the left and right sides of the Van Zandt photo. The overpass would have crossed I-895 SB, and could theoretically carry a non-freeway RI 238 SB if it wanted to, tying into America's Cup Ave. neatly at the beginning of the four-lane section. I guess there's just not enough demand along 238 to warrant the minor amount of demolition and reconstruction that would require. The sign, made to ancient standards and some of the last button copy left in the state, says there's a right lane exit in half a mile. This was intended to be the next exit from I-895 NB, and you'll want to check out the RI 138 page (linked at bottom) to see what happens there.

Over to the abandoned roadway leading south from RI 138 WB that would have picked up the abandoned ramp you saw from Van Zandt Ave. Okay, so what was this I-895 and how did this random piece end up here? It was constructed as part of the Pell Bridge approach back when there was a plan to get a freeway down from the Providence area to Newport. The highest likelihood was an extension from I-295 (which has a stub in Massachusetts for that purpose) looping all the way down eastern Rhode Island to this point - even using the Mount Hope Bridge. It could also match up with the end of RI 24 or the East Shore Expwy., but Rhode Island has indicated no interest in extending a freeway to relieve RI 114 and 138 (both four lanes to deal with summer traffic, both having problems in towns and at traffic lights). As I indicated, I-895 didn't have much farther south to go than this before running out of real estate to tear up before the wealthy part of town.

Looking north on I-895 SB to where RI 138 WB peels out of it onto the bridge.

RI 238 ends as the through route at the RI 138 trumpet. The assembly at this point should just direct traffic to RI 138 West and North, and let further signs along RI 138 direct traffic to RI 114. The second photo shows that just after the I-895 SB side gets used (with RI 138 coming on), RI 238 SB breaks off and jumps over to the NB side. That's why the entire I-895 SB roadway is abandoned.

Onto RI 138
To RI 114
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