U. S. Route 6 serves as a major east-west transportation facility connecting western Rhode Island and Connecticut to the Providence metropolitan area. It was constructed in the early twentieth-century as a four-lane facility with no significant upgrades or improvements but minor repaving, re-striping, and resigning. The corridor recorded an unusually high number of accidents and fatalities, according to RIDOT. Total reconstruction cost for Route 6 was estimated at $ 25 million, taking years to complete; however, a safety improvement project designed in 2001 and completed in 2002 and 2003 cost $2.6 million.
Initially designed to enhance safety at the intersection of Route 6 and State Route 94 alone, the project was expanded to include all six miles of Route 6 from the Connecticut State Line to Route 102 because of the involvement of local residents and government officials. Thus, the entire roadway surface was cold planed, resurfaced, and re-striped. A new section includes two 12-foot travel lanes, a 4-foot striped median, and two 8-foot shoulders. Turning lanes were added at the intersection of Route 6 and 94 and two truck-climbing lanes added east of Route 94.
Additional upgrades and improvements include a new flashing beacon, new and improved guardrails, increased signage, rumble strips and striping. Rumble strips were installed in the median and on both shoulders west of Route 94 to the Connecticut line.
RIDOT indicates that between 45 to 50 accidents a year occurred prior to project completion whereas less than 40 accidents occur per year now.