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PROVIDENCE — The drive on Thanksgiving morning isn’t expected to be as easy as pumpkin pie.

But no one expects doughnuts on the Providence River Bridge.

Rhode Island State Police say they are looking for the drivers of three cars who started spinning doughnuts in the middle of the westbound side of the I-195 bridge, shutting down the highway for several minutes.

A silver BMW sedan and a dark-colored car simultaneously spun in circles, revving their engines and burning skid marks across the lanes.

As traffic backed up and some motorists got out of their vehicles to watch, another small car cut through the lanes and spun itself into the middle of the bridge. Then, a motorcyclist at the front spun around and burned out his tires.

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The shutdown ended when State Police arrived. The suspects fled, though their exploits were captured on video and shared widely on social media.

These “highway sideshows” started in California’s Bay Area a few decades ago and have continued — shutting down highways in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, and even over the Golden Gate Bridge.

In Providence, the sideshows have included ATVs and dirt bikes with vehicles, with riders and drivers cutting through the city, shutting down streets and intersections, and recording their exploits to share on social media.

Some of those videos have ended up with the Rhode Island State Police, which is reviewing them in the investigation.


Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com