To reduce traffic congestion, Providence, Rhode Island transportation officials are considering a plan to carry cargo on barges around Northeast truck routes.

The Providence Port Authority has held meetings with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey about starting a barge operation. A barge route currently operates between New York/NJ ports and Albany, New York and Providence would like to be part of that system. The city of Bridgeport also hopes to become part of that same system and officials there are waiting on funding for a plan that has already been approved.

According to the Connecticut barge plan, ports on Long Island Sound would accept cargo and truck it further north bypassing I-95 around the New York City metro area which suffers from heavy congestion. Bridgeport was selected last May for state aid to begin a barge service but contracts and negotiations have delayed the plan. Service could not begin earlier than spring 2004, officials said.

Plans for Providence are still in the early stages.