our services

Highway Engineering

GRA has conducted conceptual and final design for hundreds of highway projects. The scope of these assignments ranges from multi-million dollar highway construction and reconstruction projects to simple plat streets. From low-volume rural roads to busy urban highways to major freeways, GRA has developed design concepts that successfully meet the project requirements, yet are sensitive to the surrounding environment.

GRA's many roadway design assignments have been conducted for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and other state and municipal government agencies. All of these projects have been accomplished to meet both state and federal design standards. GRA has the expertise necessary to conduct all of the initial studies and investigations, development and evaluation of alternatives, conceptual analysis and design, public participation, and the assessment of potential environmental impacts and permitting requirements. Once the conceptual studies are complete and a preferred alternative has been selected, GRA's experienced engineers lead their teams in the final design tasks and the preparation of the plans, specifications and estimates required to advance the projects to construction. GRA's staff is trained and experienced in producing Context Sensitive Solutions on our highway design assignments.

We invite you to view the representative projects below. Simply click on the project name to view a photograph or graphic and a brief project description.

Relocated Route 403

East Greenwich and North Kingstown, RI
Owner: Rhode Island Department of Transportation

The Relocated Route 403 freeway is a $140 million controlled access facility, on new alignment, connecting Route 4 in East Greenwich to the Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown, RI. The new Route 403 freeway provides high-quality, safe and efficient highway access to one of the premier industrial parks in this region of the country. Although the freeway is only 4.5 miles long, the total length of roadways, ramps and service roads is 14.8 miles. The freeway has 3 interchanges and 14 bridges spanning roadways, railroads and rivers. The entire facility was opened to traffic in February 2009.

Freeway Facts

  • 4-lane controlled access
  • 4.5 miles long
  • 14.8 total miles of roadways
  • 3 interchanges
  • 14 new bridges
  • 2 rehabilitated bridges

Planning Process

  • Needs assessment
  • Complete traffic analysis
  • Environmental Impact Statement
  • Public/agency coordination
  • Historical/archaeological studies
  • Regulatory permits

Final Design

  • Freeway, ramps and bridges
  • Major sewer/utility relocation
  • Eleven water quality basins
  • Extensive temporary roadways
  • Traffic signalization and signing
  • Twelve construction contracts

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Incorporated into the new freeway design were extensive features for storm water management. Included as Best Management Practices (BMPs) were eleven water quality basins and a multitude of other techniques required to protect the valuable drinking water aquifer over which the project passes, as well as area surface waters and wetlands.

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Apponaug Bypass

Warwick, RI
Owner: Rhode Island Department of Transportation

The purpose of this project is to provide a two-way road around the section of Post Road that is located in front of the Warwick City Hall, between Apponaug Four Corners and Williams Corner. This project would allow the majority of traffic on Post Road at City Hall to be diverted, leaving much lower traffic volumes passing through the heart of the historic Apponaug Village. The reduction of the existing traffic volumes on that section of Post Road is seen by the City as a key to the revitalization and redevelopment of this historic area.

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Modern roundabouts have been constructed to handle the heavy traffic volumes at the key intersections. A modern roundabout is a one-way, circular intersection without traffic signals in which traffic flows around a center island. They are specifically engineered to reduce speeds, maximize safety and improve traffic flow. Where roundabouts have been built, they have been widely accepted because they provide increased safety, improved traffic flow, traffic calming effects and aesthetic benefits.

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Arctic Circulation Improvements

West Warwick, RI
Owner: Town of West Warwick, RI

The Town of West Warwick desired to restore two-way traffic operations on the main street through its Arctic business district and the town's government center, an area that had been served by a one-way traffic circulator for many years. GRA was selected by the West Warwick Planning Department for the initial Phase I of the Arctic Circulation Improvements and the subsequent Phase II. Under contract with the Town, GRA conducted the necessary traffic and design studies, produced a report, coordinated with and obtained approvals from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), conducted final design, and prepared plans, specifications and estimates to RIDOT standards. Both phases of the project were constructed by RIDOT, and two-way traffic has been restored to the area. This project included curb and sidewalks, storm drainage modifications and traffic calming measures.

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Reconstruction of County Road

Barrington, RI
Owner: Rhode Island Department of Transportation

County Road (Route 114) in the center of Barrington is a principal arterial highway that carries in excess of 22,000 vehicles per day. Passing through the government center and central business district of the town, this section of Route 114 is flanked by intense commercial development that produces traffic patterns that involve heavy turning movements into and out of the many commercial driveways along the route. Before reconstruction, this route was characterized by a deteriorated roadway structure, low curb reveal, sidewalks in disrepair, and numerous, poorly-defined access points to the adjacent properties.

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The preferred alternative that was implemented required roadway widening and right-of-way acquisition for a three-lane cross section that provides a two-way left-turn lane throughout the project. Utility poles were relocated behind the sidewalks, an entirely new storm drainage system was designed, new traffic signals were provided with decorative mast-arm supports, and traffic operations were further enhanced through the interconnection and coordination of the four traffic signals on the project. A major landscape architectural component was included in the project’s design. In addition to extensive planting, period lighting was provided and the center turning lane and all crosswalks were formed in colored concrete stamped with a brick pattern on the surface in recognition of Barrington’s history as a brick-producing center.

Reconstruction of President Avenue

Fall River, MA
Owner: City of Fall River, MA

This street improvement project was implemented by the City of Fall River in response to and in partnership with new business development on President Avenue.

An extensive traffic analysis indicated that this roadway carries over 25,000 vehicles per day, with traffic heavily influenced by Durfee High School, Bishop Connolly High School and Bristol Community College, all of which are located to the north of the project on the main intersecting street, Elsbree Street.

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The recommended improvements that were implemented included the widening and full reconstruction of the street, the consolidation of curb openings, and the provision of left-turn lanes at Elsbree Street and throughout the frontage of the shopping center on the north side of the project. Once the preferred concept was approved, GRA completed final design and the preparation of the plans, specifications and estimates in under four months to meet the City's required schedule.

The traffic data showed existing traffic volumes on President Avenue at an estimated 25,100 vehicles per day. In addition to commercial development, the traffic on President Avenue is heavily influenced by Durfee High School, Bishop Connolly High School and Bristol Community College, all of which are located to the north of the project on the main intersecting street, Elsbree Street.

The recommended improvements that were implemented included the widening and full reconstruction of the street, the consolidation of curb openings, and the provision of left-turn lanes at Elsbree Street and throughout the frontage of the shopping center on the north side of the project. Once the preferred concept was approved, GRA completed final design and the preparation of the plans, specifications and estimates in under four months to meet the desired schedule of the City.

Services

  • Strategic Transportation Planning
  • Environmental Impact Statements and Assessments
  • Analysis and Conceptual Design
  • Storm Water Management - Analysis and Design
  • Utility Installations and Relocations
  • Final Design/Preparation of Plans, Specifications and Estimates
  • Right-of-way Plans and Acquisition Plats

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