The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has laid out long-term plans for improvements to both the southern and northern termini of Route 4. During the 1980s and 1990s, RIDOT announced plans to eliminate the three traffic lights along the southern end of the highway. The department planned to replace the existing signalized US 1 and Route 4 merge, converting it into a grade-separated interchange with an extensive overpass. This would cut-off access to three local roads that intersect US 1 near the signal. The plan also included the replacement of the two other signaled intersections at West Allenton Road and Oak Hill Road with overpasses; the overpass for West Allenton Road is planned to be constructed as a new exit 4. In the 1990s, the state purchased and demolished several houses in the region to allow for an expanded Route 4 right-of-way in the vicinity of West Allenton Road.
The upgrade proposal proved to be very unpopular with North Kingstown residents who lived on the affected local roads. Additionally, RIDOT laid the highway out so that Route 4 would cross through wetlands in the area. This sparked environmental concerns, as one of the large wetlands that would be affected, Froberg's Marsh, was deemed to be of high value by Rhode Island environmentalists. Despite local and environmental concerns, RIDOT still considers the Route 4 upgrade to be the safest way to improve traffic flow in the region. While the Department of Transportation considered upgrading nearby Route 2 to freeway standards as a potential alternative, this plan was ultimately rejected because of its effects on wells in the area. Although the project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2007, the $55 million project has been postponed indefinitely.
RIDOT also has long-range plans to construct direct freeway connections linking Route 4 north with I-95 south and I-95 north with Route 4 south . As of November 2010, environmental studies are being prepared for a reconfiguration of the interchange
Read more about this topic: Rhode Island Route 4
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