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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 and 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 all our highway design assignments. GRA is also expert in the Complete Streets design concept of providing features that accommodate all users of the roadway, including pedestrians, bicyclists and transit in addition to vehicular traffic.

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



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.



Apponaug Bypass

Warwick, RI
Owner: Rhode Island Department of Transportation

The Apponaug Bypass was planned and designed to provide a two-way bypass around the section of Post Road that passes through the heart of Apponaug Village, which includes the City of Warwick’s Government Center. The bypass has diverted the majority of the traffic away from that section of Post Road and out of the historic Village. This reduction of traffic is seen by the City as a key to the revitalization and redevelopment of the Village.


The five key intersections on the project are controlled by modern roundabouts. Modern roundabouts provide safe and efficient traffic flow with the additional benefits of providing traffic calming and aesthetic improvements. Four multi-lane roundabouts control the heavy traffic along the bypass route. The fifth roundabout is a single-lane roundabout located at the Apponaug Four-Corners intersection, which is the entrance to the Government Center and historic Village.

Now with reduced traffic volumes, Post Road through the Village has been reduced to a single travel lane. In accordance with the Complete Streets design concept, this section of road has been provided with traffic calming features, a bicycle lane, and parking, new sidewalks and streetscape improvements on both sides of the street.




For this project, GRA received the 2019 First Place Gold Anchor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Rhode Island (ACEC-RI) for Professional Design Excellence

Relocated Main Avenue

Warwick, RI
Client: Rhode Island Airport Corporation
Owner: Rhode Island Department of Transportation

The relocation of Main Avenue (Route 113) was accomplished by the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) as a key component of the proposed T. F. Green Airport Improvement Program in Warwick, RI. Although the design and construction of this urban Principal Arterial highway was done by RIAC, Main Avenue is a state highway owned and maintained by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT). As a result, state and Federal design standards apply, and RIDOT oversight was required.

To create the space needed for the extension of Runway 5, the relocation of Main Avenue took place to the south of the former road, proceeding on a curvilinear alignment, matching the existing street at the project limits. Relocated Main Avenue required the reconfiguration of the several side streets located both to the north and south of the old road. New intersections were formed where those side streets meet Relocated Main Avenue, two of which are signalized. The total length of the realignment is 3,400 linear feet.



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.



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 Plymouth Avenue

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

The Reconstruction of Plymouth Avenue for the City of Fall River entailed a 1.4-mile arterial highway that carries upwards of 22,000 vehicles per day. Included in the project are ten (10) signalized intersections, one of which, at Rodman Street, had been listed by the regional planning agency as the one of the most hazardous intersections in the Southeastern Massachusetts.


Immediately north of Rodman Street is the very busy interchange of Plymouth Avenue with Interstate Route 195. GRA’s design concept included major lane rearrangements and traffic flow improvements through that area.

Traffic signal replacements were accomplished throughout the project, with separate coordinated systems implemented where warranted. All roadway and traffic design was conducted in accordance with the standards of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), since the project was constructed by that state agency.

New sidewalks were provided throughout the length of the project, with all pedestrian features designed in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAB). Under the Complete Streets concept of accommodating all road users, the project also included a bicycle lane for most of its length, while maintaining the all-important on-street parking on both sides of the street.




  • 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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