Thursday, April 30, 2009

Washington Bridge bike path reopens to cyclists

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it has reopened the bike path on the old Washington Bridge on a temporary basis. The path will eventually be closed again when the Department is ready to begin construction on a project to convert the remaining portion of the old bridge into a wider bikeway and linear park.

The bike path on the bridge is in its original configuration, and cyclists and pedestrians should exercise caution on the path as it is very narrow. There are numerous alcoves along the path where cyclists can pull over and let an oncoming rider pass.

The access points to the bridge’s bike path are the same as before, via a ramp structure off Gano Street in India Point Park and a short path segment near Warren Avenue that connects to the East Bay Bike Path. The reopening of the Washington Bridge bike path extends the length of the East Bay Bike Path by about half of a mile for a total of 14.5 miles in each direction.

RIDOT does not have a firm timetable for the commencement of the construction project to widen the bridge and the original path’s closure. The Department is reviewing the design for the new bikeway and linear park.

The path was closed during the construction of the new Washington Bridge, which carries traffic on I-195 East over the Seekonk River.

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Note: While the Washington Bridge bike path is now open, it will be closed on Sunday, May 3 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. because it is part of the route for the Cox Sports Marathon. Cyclists on the East Bay Bike Path north of Middle Highway in Barrington can expect congested conditions as the path itself will be part of the road race course.

Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007

Friday, April 24, 2009

RIDOT breaks ground for new Sakonnet River Bridge


Governor Donald L. Carcieri, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Michael P. Lewis joined numerous Federal, State and local officials today in celebrating the groundbreaking for the new Sakonnet River Bridge. The event took place on the Portsmouth side of the Sakonnet River on the shore where the new bridge will be built.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) last week awarded a $163.7 million contract to Cardi Corporation for the construction of the new Sakonnet River Bridge, which will be built to the south of the existing Sakonnet River Bridge. It is the largest single bridge contract in RIDOT’s history.

“This is a day we’ve been waiting for,” Governor Carcieri said. “This bridge is a vital link to Aquidneck Island and replacing it as quickly as possible is a top priority for Rhode Island.”

Construction will begin shortly and RIDOT anticipates the new bridge will be open to traffic in 2012. The contract with Cardi Corporation includes an early incentive clause, up to $5 million, which could result in the bridge opening one year earlier. RIDOT estimates this project will create up to 140 direct jobs and 330 indirect jobs.

An estimated 40,000 vehicles per day cross the Sakonnet River Bridge, which carries Route 24 between Portsmouth and Tiverton. The bridge currently has an 18-ton weight limit, requiring truck traffic to and from the Aquidneck Island communities of Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth to seek alternate routes – often resulting in a detour up to 30 miles long.

“The Department is eager to begin construction on the new Sakonnet River Bridge,” Director Lewis said. “The new bridge will alleviate the weight restriction and replace a vital transportation link for Newport County.”

RIDOT has determined that it is more cost-effective to replace the 53-year-old bridge rather than rehabilitate the old one. Rehabilitating the old bridge would have been very disruptive to traffic and likely would have taken much longer to complete.

The new bridge will be 2,265 feet long and approximately 96 feet wide. Motorists will find two 12-foot lanes in each direction with wide shoulders. The bridge includes a planned 13-foot wide bicycle and pedestrian path on the north side of the bridge. Mariners will find a wider passage under the bridge’s center span and the new bridge will maintain the minimum vertical clearance over the river of 65 feet. The project also calls for a parking area and a boat ramp on the Tiverton side of the bridge.

The bridge includes a number of decorative and architectural features. These include LED-based lighting to illuminate the bridge’s piers in the river and light posts in the center median. RIDOT also included back-lighted bronze plaques on the approaches of the bridge which will depict the town seals of Portsmouth and Tiverton, as well as an anchor from the Rhode Island State Seal.

RIDOT was able to retain these design features even after a redesign in 2007 which trimmed about $34 million from the project cost. A majority of the savings were achieved by lowering the profile of the bridge and constructing a large embankment for the eastern approach. This reduces approximately 470 feet of elevated roadway over land.

Further savings were realized by conducting a test program for the bridge’s foundation, which allowed for more specific plans to prospective bidders and potentially saving unforeseen costs during construction. RIDOT also developed two design alternatives – one with steel beams, another with concrete beams – and advertised for bids for both options. This allowed RIDOT to take advantages of market fluctuations for construction materials. Cardi Corporation’s bid of $163.7 million for the steel option was $25.7 million less than the lowest bid received for a bridge with concrete beams.

The old Sakonnet River Bridge will be demolished under a separate contract at the conclusion of the project.

Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007

RIDOT Travel Advisories

The weekly Rhode Island Department of Transportation Travel Advisories forecast for April 25 – May 1, 2009 is now online at: http://www.tmc.dot.ri.gov/traveladvisories/default.asp

Thursday, April 23, 2009

RIDOT to break ground for new Sakonnet River Bridge tomorrow

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding media organizations that it has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Sakonnet River Bridge to take place tomorrow, April 24, 2009 at 3 p.m. The ceremony will take place on the Portsmouth side of the bridge on Riverside Avenue.

Governor Donald L. Carcieri, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and many other Federal, State and local officials will be in attendance.

RIDOT last week awarded a $163.7 million contract to Cardi Corporation for the construction of a new Sakonnet River Bridge. Construction will begin shortly and RIDOT anticipates the new bridge will be open to traffic in 2012. The contract does include an early incentive clause, which could result in the bridge opening one year earlier.

The new structure will be built just to the south of the existing 53-year-old span, which will be demolished at the conclusion of the project.

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Directions:

From the North: Follow Route 24 South over the old Sakonnet River Bridge. Take Exit 3 (Anthony Road). At the end of the ramp, turn right onto Anthony Road and follow it under Route 24 to the intersection with Hummocks Avenue (take care to stay left at ramp for Route 24 North). Turn left onto Hummocks Avenue, then take the first left onto Morris Avenue, and follow Morris Avenue to Riverside Avenue and event location.

From the South: Follow Route 24 North to Exit 3 (Hummocks Avenue). Follow Hummocks Avenue and turn left onto Morris Avenue and follow it to Riverside Avenue and event location.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

RIDOT HAS OBLIGATED OVER 50% OF ARRA FUNDS

Ensures all allocated funds stay in RI with a chance for more

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has obligated more than 50 percent of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds well ahead of the federally imposed timetable. While the national deadline to do this is July 2, 2009 RIDOT reached this point on March 16, 2009.

“This ensures that all the ARRA dollars given to Rhode Island will stay in Rhode Island, and positions us to receive any additional dollars other states might not be able to spend,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis.

RIDOT received over $137 million in stimulus funding and was obligated to spend $45.9 million within 120 days of its receipt. RIDOT has now obligated $69 million.

Thirty of the 54 jobs that make up the list of stimulus projects have been authorized to proceed. Bids for 20 of these projects have been opened. Of that, eight have been awarded and several of them are already in active construction.

When completed it is expected that 1,500 direct construction jobs will have been created and 3,500 indirect jobs will come out of the ARRA funding.

To help new and existing contractors to become familiar with the ARRA transportation contracts RIDOT is hosting a Contract Opportunities Fair on Thursday, April 23, 2009 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Crossings, Salon IV & V, 801 Greenwich Avenue, Warwick. The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Dana Alexander Nolfe 401-222-1362

EARTH DAY ALERT: RIDOT SPENT $1 MILLION LAST YEAR PICKING UP TRASH

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) spent $1 million last year to pick up roadside trash. Manpower and dollars used to keep Rhode Island’s roads, highways and bridges clean cannot go towards other more enduring improvements.

“When RIDOT commemorates next year’s Earth Day we would like to be able to say that zero dollars were used toward this effort,” said RIDOT’s Director Michael Lewis. “Everyone who disposes of trash improperly on our roads contributes to this waste.”

The $1 million used to pick up the trash gets spent on inmate litter crews, traffic control and refuse disposal. Those dollars, which come out of the gas tax, take away from RIDOT’s ability to fill more potholes, mow more grass, and sweep more highways.

Crews typically have to pick up beverage containers including water, soda and alcohol bottles, fast food packaging, and cigarette butts. Nationally fast food waste, paper products, and aluminum beer cans make up most of the trash.

While 55 percent of roadside litter occurs intentionally by people dropping their trash on the road, the other 45 percent of roadside litter is caused by trash blowing out of uncovered trucks or falling off of unsecured loads.

“It is not just environmental waste, but economic waste as well,” said Lewis. “In these economic times every dollar counts, so we ask everyone to put trash in its proper place. Out a car window isn’t one of them.”

Earth Day began on April 22, 1970, making this the 39th celebration. Over 20 million people celebrated the first Earth Day. Today over 1 billion people celebrate it worldwide.

Contact: Dana Alexander Nolfe 401-222-1362 x4450

Traffic advisory: Lane closure planned for Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will be closing lanes on Route 138 tomorrow and Friday, April 23 and 24, 2009 on the Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The closure is needed to allow for bridge inspection work. Motorists may encounter delays, particularly at the beginning and end of the lane closure period. At all times at least one lane of travel will be open to traffic.

The closure schedule is as follows:

• Thursday, April 23, 2009: Route 138 East, right lane closure followed by a left lane closure. • Friday, April 24, 2009: Route 138 West, right lane closure.

All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change.

Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007

Experts Share State, RIDOT Bidding Procedures

April 22, 2009

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will provide a panel of experts to share State and RIDOT bidding procedures as they host a Contract Opportunities Fair on Thursday, April 23, 2009 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Crossings, Salon IV & V, 801 Greenwich Avenue, Warwick. The event is free and open to the public.
Prompted by the receipt of over $137 million in Federal stimulus funds, RIDOT is hosting this fair to provide an opportunity for new and existing contractors to become familiar with the transportation contracts available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
The program will highlight upcoming bid opportunities, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) requirements and opportunities, and how to do business with RIDOT and the State. There will be a speaking program followed by a trade fair.
Presenters include: Michael P. Lewis, Director, RIDOT; Louis DeQuattro, Jr., Esq., Associate Director, Division of Purchases, Rhode Island Department of Administration; Christos Xenophontos, Administrator, Contracts & Specifications, RIDOT; Vanessa Crum, Administrator, Business & Community Resources, RIDOT; and Robert Smith, P.E, Deputy Chief Engineer, Chief of Design, RIDOT.

Friday, April 17, 2009

RIDOT’s weekly traffic forecast for April 18-24, 2009 is now online

RIDOT’s weekly traffic forecast for April 18-24, 2009 is now online at: http://www.tmc.dot.ri.gov/traveladvisories/default.asp

RIDOT awards Sakonnet River Bridge project

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today it has formally awarded a $163.7 million contract to Cardi Corporation for the construction of a new Sakonnet River Bridge. Construction will begin shortly and a groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled for April 24.

RIDOT anticipates the new bridge will be open to traffic in 2012. The contract does include an early incentive clause, which could result in the bridge opening one year earlier. The new structure will be built just to the south of the existing 53-year-old span, which will be demolished at the conclusion of the project.

RIDOT is planning a groundbreaking ceremony on April 24 at 3 p.m. on the Portsmouth side of the bridge, on Riverside Avenue. Next week the Department will announce more information regarding this event.

Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

RIDOT Refutes Providence Journal Blog Statement

RIDOT Refutes Providence Journal Blog Statement
04-07-2009
Enough ARRA Funds for Both Buses and Train Station
Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Michael P. Lewis is refuting this afternoon’s Providence Journal blog entry that insinuates that dollars will not be available for new Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) buses.
“There are enough dollars to meet RIPTA’s capital objectives as well as the South County Commuter Rail,” said Lewis.
“I agree whole heartedly,” said John Rupp, RIPTA’s Board Chair. “Both bus and rail needs can and should be addressed with the available funds.”
At this morning’s meeting of the committee to evaluate Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funded projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) members of RIDOT, RIPTA, Statewide Planning, the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), and the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns discussed upcoming projects.
Although the ARRA funds available to Rhode Island from the formula FTA programs was $4.1 million less than the total estimated cost of the RIPTA and RIDOT projects presented, the committee felt ARRA funds from other programs and a favorable bidding environment will allow all identified projects to be implemented including bus and rail.
Director Lewis began the meeting by providing an overview of the ARRA program requirements, noting that the available funding could only be applied to capital projects. RIDOT and RIPTA members then reviewed the program specifics for FTA projects. Capital project needs for RIPTA and RIDOT, with a focus on South County Commuter Rail, were discussed.
At the end of the meeting the committee concurred on three points: the priorities for the FTA funded projects should be the use of all the available ARRA funding; support of RIPTA’s capital program needs; and support of RIDOT’s South County Commuter Rail program needs. The committee was also in agreement that all of the projects proposed by RIPTA and RIDOT should be funded.
“This morning’s meeting was indicative of the kind of cooperation and collaboration that can exist in and between State agencies even in difficult economic times where there may be competition for available resources,” said Frances Shocket, TAC Chair and a meeting participant. “The participants exhibited a respect for each other’s short term needs and acknowledgement of the need for long term planning that will benefit all Rhode Islanders.”
Contact: Dana Alexander Nolfe 401-222-1362 x4450

Monday, April 6, 2009

RIDOT newsletter available


Next edition of RIDOT's newsletter, The Interchange, now available. Download it (plus back issues) at: http://www.dot.ri.gov/news/newsltr.asp

ARRA PROJECTS MEAN MORE ORANGE CONES:

Rhode Island DOT News

www.dot.ri.gov/news

RIDOT Release: 41:09
Contact: Heidi Cote 401-222-1362, Ext. 4009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2009

ARRA PROJECTS MEAN MORE ORANGE CONES:
DRIVE SAFELY THROUGH WORK ZONES
Thanks to the over $137 million in Federal stimulus funds for transportation available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, more and more Rhode Islanders will be put to work in the field of construction. That means that more orange cones will be visible on the State’s highways. To mark this, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is letting motorists know that April 6-10 is the 10th annual National Work Zone Awareness Week.

“With the receipt of the stimulus funding, and the official start of construction season fast approaching, we are putting out a great deal of work,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “This will be a busy season, and we need the support of all Rhode Islanders to make it is not only productive but safe.”

All field personnel receive annual work zone safety training as part of the Department’s overall Health & Safety Program. There are plans to train the new field personnel that will be hired as part of the stimulus funding as well.


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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lane closure planned for Apponaug village in Warwick due to demolition


Motorists driving through Apponaug village in Warwick tomorrow, Friday, April 3, 2009 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. may encounter delays due to demolition of the former Apponaug Mill complex. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is performing this work as part of the Apponaug Circulator Project.

The mill building is located very close to Centerville Road (Route 117) and RIDOT must close the westbound lane and adjacent sidewalk for safety. RIDOT will establish a two-way traffic pattern using the two eastbound lanes. Motorists may wish to seek alternate routes during this lane closure.

RIDOT is demolishing four buildings in the immediate area, including the former People’s Storage building which will be razed this summer. The work is a prelude to the proposed Apponaug Circulator Project, which calls for construction of a bypass road for Route 117 and reconstruction of all major intersections in the village. RIDOT anticipates construction of the project to begin in 2011.

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