PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee is touting his state’s transportation department (RIDOT) for its 2023 accomplishments.
“Rhode Island continues to steadily make gains in improving our transportation system, and our Department of Transportation is making these changes at a rapid pace, carefully balancing traffic impacts during construction to get us to new, better roads, bridges, sidewalks and bike paths,” McKee said in a news release.
According to Rhode Island transportation officials, their goal is “to make the state’s transportation system safer and more efficient by eliminating chronic congestion, in which reduces vehicle emissions. RIDOT also continues its mission at a high level of quality and transparency for taxpaying citizens, allowing the department to deliver a 90%, on-time and on-budget performance records.”
Improvement highlights include:
- Municipal Road and Bridge Fund Program — RIDOT assisted cities and towns in the application and awarding of $20 million of state funds to fix local roads. The highly successful program saw all 39 cities and towns participate, with each contributing two-thirds of the cost for their projects. The net result was a $74 million investment in local roads, 621 projects representing 421 lane miles of roads and nearly 135,000 linear feet of sidewalks.
- Stormwater Improvements — RIDOT completed retrofits to five existing storm water treatment units to bring them up to current design and to fulfill permitting standards for water quality, installed new storm water treatment units in the Greenwich Bay Upland watershed, and cleaned and maintained more than 12,000 catch basins.
- Rapid Bridge Construction — RIDOT successfully used accelerated bridge construction methods to replace bridge decks on major highway corridors. In each case, RIDOT conducted extended weekend closures to demolish and replace the structures, condensing what would have been two or more years of lane closures, shifts and delays into just a few days. These included the replacement of the Wellington Avenue Bridge, carrying Interstate 95 near Route 10 in Cranston, which was replaced over four consecutive weekends, and the Route 37 East Bridge over the Pawtuxet River. RIDOT continues to make strides in reducing its high percentage of structurally deficient bridges. The percentage of structurally deficient bridges dropped from 27% in 2016 to less than 15%. RIDOT is well on track to reach its goal of no more than 10% deficient bridges by 2026. The total value of all projects under RhodeWorks is $4.2 billion, a total of 303 projects addressing 402 bridges. Since the beginning of RhodeWorks in 2016, the Department has completed 232 projects, including the repair and replacement of 269 bridges. In the past federal fiscal year, RIDOT completed 25 bridges.
- Transit Improvements — RIDOT opened the new Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center, a combined MBTA commuter rail and RIPTA bus hub that has far exceeded ridership expectations (690 daily boardings as opposed to a projection of 520 daily boardings) and is serving as a catalyst for transit-oriented development in Pawtucket and Central Falls. RIDOT also continued to operate the Providence to Newport Ferry, carrying more than 35,000 passengers this past summer between the two cities for a combined ridership of 285,000 people in its first eight years.
- Safety Improvements — The Department invested $30 million in engineered safety improvements and funded $1.5 million in paid public service messaging to discourage dangerous driving behaviors, such as impaired and distracted driving. In November, the RIDOT Roadside Responder service began. This pilot program uses service vehicles patrolling Providence-area highways to help clear disabled vehicles stopped on the side of the road, helping to reduce congestion on our highways.
- Maintenance Improvements — RIDOT continues to upgrade and expand its fleet of vehicles and inventory of tools to maintain the 1,100 miles of state roadway more effectively. In 2023, this included going out to bid for more than 20 new plow trucks, and taking possession of new mowers, road sweepers, and drainage cleaning trucks. To tackle Rhode Island’s persistent litter problem, RIDOT bought tractor-mounted litter pickers turf sweepers so it can pick up litter faster. RIDOT Also purchased a building in Providence to house its dedicated bridge maintenance division.
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements — RIDOT committed $30 million in improvements for pedestrians and bicycle users statewide. Such improvements are also included in most of RIDOT’s projects, including the recently opened new shared-use path across the Henderson Bridge and bike paths being built as part of the Route 6/10 Interchange project in Providence and Pell Bridge Ramps project in Newport. RIDOT continues to work on replacing the popular East Bay Bike Path Bridges.
“We remain laser focused on bringing our state’s transportation system into a state of good repair, erasing decades of neglected roads and bridges and making it safer and more efficient for everyone,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti. “RIDOT will never waver on its commitment to deliver high-quality projects for Rhode Islanders, on time and on budget.”
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Erica N. Guy decided to stay in her hometown to begin her professional career in journalism. Since obtaining her bachelor’s degree from UAPB, Erica has professionally written for several publications about several topics ranging from lifestyle, tech, culture, and entertainment, just to name a few. Continuing her love for her hometown, she joined our team in June 2023, where she is currently a staff writer. Her career goals include continuing storytelling through her writing by being the best professional writer she can be. In her spare time, Erica enjoys trying new foods, cozying up with a good book, spending time with family and friends, and establishing herself as a future businesswoman.