PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Federal and state officials in Rhode Island have kicked off a major project to replace two bridges that carry Interstate 95 through the heart of Providence.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, the state's congressional delegation, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and others participated Monday in a ground-breaking ceremony for the project.

Two new spans will be built to replace the deteriorating bridges of the Providence Viaduct. The original bridges were built in 1964.

The work is expected to cost nearly $150 million and stretch into late 2018. The state will pay 20 percent of the cost, with federal money being used for the rest.

State Transportation Director Michael Lewis says the replacement of the Viaduct is critical and that the quality of a state's infrastructure is directly linked to the economy.