Friday, August 28, 2009

Weekly Traffic Forecast

The weekly Traffic Forecast for August 29 - September 4, 2009 is now available. Please see: http://www.tmc.dot.ri.gov/traveladvisories/default.asp.

Route 123 Culvert Repair Project Canceled This Weekend

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it will postpone a repair project to a culvert on Great Road (Route 123) in Lincoln that was scheduled for this weekend due to the forecast of adverse weather associated with Tropical Storm Danny.

RIDOT has rescheduled the work to take place the weekend of September 11-13, 2009. The project began last weekend just west of the intersection with Old River Road (Route 126), close to the historic Moffitt Mill where Great Road passes over the Moshassuck River.

An inspection of the culvert in July found significant concrete deterioration. All schedules are weather-dependent.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RIDOT and TMC Websites Offline

The main website for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), as well as the website for the Department’s Transportation Management Center (TMC), are offline this afternoon due to a hardware failure. RIDOT is working as quickly as possible to restore service; however, the sites may be unavailable for the afternoon commute today and possibly tomorrow morning’s commute.

The outage affects access by the general public to popular planning tools such as traffic cameras, traffic forecasts noting lane closures, and incident notices that are broadcast as needed. Most major media outlets have access to traffic camera images using direct connections, and should be able to access these images to assist in preparing traffic reports.

Motorists in the interim can obtain traffic information by visiting Traffic.com for congestion mapping that provides estimates on traffic flow on major highways. The Providence area information can be found at www.traffic.com/Providence-Traffic/Providence-Traffic-Reports.html.

The outage does not affect incident reports that are automatically broadcast on RIDOT’s Twitter site at http://twitter.com/RIDOTNews. This site features real-time announcements of crashes, disabled vehicles and other incidents that can cause congestion and delays.
RIDOT will also provide traffic updates on its Highway Advisory Radio system (1630 AM), on 511, and its dynamic message boards.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Barrington Bridge opening to traffic in stages

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it will begin the process of opening the Barrington Bridge tomorrow, Wednesday, August 26, 2009. The opening will be done in stages, with westbound traffic diverted to the new bridge first. The transition will take place during the work day on Wednesday.

Once westbound traffic is on the new bridge, RIDOT will begin construction on a short section of roadway between the bridge and New Meadow Road so eastbound traffic can use the new bridge. This work cannot be done until the westbound lane is open because the approach roads to the new bridge and the temporary Barrington Bridge slightly overlap.

The Department anticipates the bridge will be open to two-way traffic prior to Labor Day.

Even after both lanes are open, construction will continue on the new Barrington Bridge through the fall. Occasional lane closures may be required. Pedestrian traffic will continue to use the temporary bridge until demolition begins later next month. All schedules are weather-dependent.

The new Barrington Bridge is 418 feet long and 30 feet wide. It features wider sidewalks on both sides (eight feet versus five feet on the original bridge) with a protective rail between the sidewalk and travel lane. Additionally, period lighting will be installed on the bridge.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Governor Carcieri Announces Plan to Achieve $67.8 Million in FY 2010 Budget Savings

Governor Announces 12 Shutdown Days,
Operating Efficiencies, Reduction in Local Aid

Governor Donald L. Carcieri today announced his plan to achieve the $67.8 million in unspecified savings in the FY 2010 budget passed by the General Assembly. The plan calls for 12 shutdown days of state government, operational savings, and withholding the 4th quarter of the vehicle excise tax from cities and towns.

"Over the past several years, framed by two recessions, the state has faced difficult budgets, resulting in nearly one billion in lost revenue over the past two years," said Governor Donald L. Carcieri. "We have managed through this crisis with reductions in state spending, improved operating efficiencies, and without raising broad-based taxes. We have achieved equally significant savings through changes to our healthcare plan, major pension reform, a massive reduction in state employment levels, changes to social service programs, and some cuts to local aid."

"Even with these efforts, we are faced with more daunting challenges," continued Carcieri. "The state's FY 2010 Budget requires my Administration to find $68.7 million in unspecified savings. With most efficiencies already attained, and staffing reductions already made, there are few options left to cut costs."

"My Administration has developed a plan to reach the $68 million total, through a combination of shutdown days, operating efficiencies and cuts, and a reduction in local aid by withholding the 4th quarter vehicle tax payment."



Shutdown Days

The Administration has identified 12 days in which state government will be shut down. The following days are designated as official shutdown days:


Friday, 9/4/09
Friday, 10/9/09
Friday, 10/30/09
Friday, 11/27/09
Thursday, 12/24/09
Friday, 1/15/10
Friday, 2/15/10
Friday, 3/12/10
Friday, 4/2/10
Friday, 4/23/10
Friday, 5/28/10
Friday, 6/11/10


The anticipated general revenue savings achieved from each shutdown day is approximately $1.4 million, $17.3 million in total savings for all twelve. In addition, the Higher Education system will achieve $4.3 million in general revenue savings in a manner consistent with the delivery of student services over the school year. A state employee who stays home on all 12 shutdown days, will take home about 4.6 percent less.
This brings the total savings to $21.6 million. These savings assume the cooperation and participation of all branches of government.
"We are very well aware of the impact shutdown days will have on state employees and state services. For Rhode Islanders there will be inconveniences; for state employees there is sacrifice. I am asking everyone's patience, understanding, and awareness that these steps are unavoidable if the State is to live within its means," continued Carcieri.
The State has met with union officials for the past several weeks in hopes of reaching a consensual agreement to achieve the savings through pay reduction days, similar to the one day pay reduction implemented last fiscal year, rather than shutdown days. Pay reduction days would achieve greater saving days and afford the Administration more flexibility, while providing employees with an additional personal day to be taken at a later date.
While the Administration will continue to negotiate with labor and remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached, each day that passes puts at risk the ability for the state to achieve the necessary savings. "I look forward to working with the various unions to address this situation in another way, but we simply cannot wait any longer to act," said Carcieri.

Operational Savings

The Department of Administration (DOA) has identified approximately $17.1 million in savings from several areas, including $5.2 million from reducing consultant contracts by 10 percent, and limiting or eliminating seminars, conference and training for state employees.

DOA has identified an additional $8.9 million from a heightened level of scrutiny on all non essential expenditures, including out of state travel, fees and subscriptions, printing, advertising and other departmental expenses. In addition, DOA expects the state to gain $3 million in health insurance savings.



Authority to Withhold Appropriations

"Even with the shutdown days, and the operating efficiencies, we are still far short of the $68 million we need," continued Carcieri. "I intend to submit legislation for immediate consideration when the General Assembly returns in September that will grant me the authority to withhold appropriations. In these extraordinary times, I need the flexibility to withhold appropriations to properly manage the execution of the budget."

Previous Governors have had the statutory authority to withhold appropriations. This power was stripped by the General Assembly in 1996.

Of the state general funds - approximately $3.1 billion - one billion of these state funds goes to our cities and towns. This is on top of local property tax and other taxes collected by municipalities - nearly $2 billion. The Governor intends seek authority to withhold the 4th quarter motor vehicle tax payment to cities and towns. This amounts to approximately $32.5 million.

"We cannot continue to funnel money to the cities and towns without their participation in the state's budget conversation," said Carcieri.

"While this plan will achieve the $68 million in the FY 2010 budget, we are not out of the woods yet. Since May, we have seen revenues continue to deteriorate. By the first of September, we will close the books on FY 09, and at first blush, revenues are expected to be off by an estimated $65 million dollars in May and June. The significant savings we have realized by this plan are being outpaced by decreasing state revenues, revenues that rely on everyday economic activity," continued Carcieri.

CONTACT: Amy Kempe 222-8290

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekly Traffic Forecast Now Available

The weekly RIDOT Travel Forecast for August 22-28, 2009 is now available.
Please see: http://www.tmc.dot.ri.gov/traveladvisories/default.asp.

New Striping Patter to continue on Route 44 in Smithfield: Resurfacing Improvements to Get Underway Aug. 25

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is alerting motorists that the new striping pattern of three lanes (one lane in each direction with a center turn lane) on Route 44 in Smithfield, from Austin Avenue to West Greenville Road, will continue. The roadway will soon undergo $2 million of resurfacing improvements thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The project is slated to get underway, weather permitting, on Tuesday, August 25.
“Due to the success we have had thus far with this new traffic configuration, we have decided to continue it as we move forward with the construction project,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “It appears that the new traffic patterns have actually reduced speeds, acting as a traffic calming device, and helping to improve safety in the area.”
In addition to the new striping, the 1-R (Resurfacing) Project for Route 44 in Smithfield includes cold planing and paving, bringing existing sidewalks into Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, a new traffic signal at the intersection of Route 44 and Austin Avenue, and new signing. Under a contract with Digregorio Corporation of Smithfield, RI, the project is slated for completion by Summer 2010.
The Department originally changed the striping on this stretch of Route 44, with an average daily traffic count of 15,000 vehicles per day, on August 13. RIDOT’s plans are to continue to monitor traffic in the area, and if all goes well, make the new lane configurations permanent.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Culvert Repair Project to Affect Route 123 in Lincoln

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it will be conducting repairs to a culvert on Great Road (Route 123) beginning on Friday night, August 21, 2009. This work will take place just west of the intersection with Old River Road (Route 126), close to the historic Moffitt Mill where Great Road passes over the Moshassuck River.

The construction will require the closure of a travel lane and the establishment of a single-lane alternating traffic pattern beginning at 9 p.m. tomorrow. The pattern will be in place throughout the weekend with two lanes expected to be restored by early Monday morning. The same travel restriction will be instituted the following weekend, August 28-30, beginning at 9 p.m. on August 28, in order to complete the culvert rehabilitation. All schedules are weather dependent.

An inspection of the culvert in July found significant concrete deterioration. RIDOT scheduled the $200,000 repair project as quickly as possible. The work will involve the pouring of a new concrete deck over the existing culvert and pavement of an asphalt driving surface. While the concrete placement work is expected to be completed early Saturday, the concrete must be allowed to cure through the remainder of the weekend before traffic can drive over that portion of the road.

Police officers will be present throughout the operation directing traffic through the construction zone. Motorists can expect delays in this area, particularly on Saturday when traffic volumes are higher. Drivers are urged to seek alternate routes, and the Department recommends the use of Old River Road (Route 126) and George Washington Highway (Route 116) for traffic coming to and from Route 146.

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Contact: Charles St. Martin, 401-222-1362 ext. 4007

RIDOT Warns Drivers: You Drink & Drive. You Lose.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is joining forces with State and local police departments in a national end of summer campaign to curb drunk driving. Increased patrols will be out in full force from August 21 through the Labor Day holiday weekend.
“We are working with our partners in the law enforcement community to stop drunk driving. Even one injury or loss of life on our highways is too many and these are tragedies that can be prevented,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “We want to stop drinkers from becoming drunk drivers during this high-risk travel period before they even have a chance to hit the road.”
Nationally, the crackdown is intended to reduce the tragic toll caused by impaired drivers resulting in nearly 12,000 fatalities in 2008. Drunk driving is the leading cause of fatal crashes in Rhode Island. Last year, 25 people were killed on Rhode Island roadways in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Law enforcement will be watching for impaired drivers and making sure they are detected and arrested.
The statewide You Drink & Drive. You Lose. program is organized by RIDOT’s Office on Highway Safety and is focused on high-visibility enforcement and heightened public awareness.
“Here in Rhode Island it should be clear that if you drink and drive, you will lose,” added Lewis.

Monday, August 17, 2009

URI-RIDOT Alumni Group Receiving Chapter of the Year Award

A University of Rhode Island alumni chapter composed of Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) employees has captured the URI Alumni Association’s 2009 Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award. A special gathering of URI-RIDOT Affinity Chapter is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, August 18 at 10 a.m. at the RIDOT Transportation Management Center and will feature new University of Rhode Island President Dr. David M. Dooley who will be presenting the award. Media are invited to the event.

The Chapter was formed in May 2008 on the realization that many employees at the Rhode Island Department of Transportation are URI alumni, and share a common bond. The Chapter has organized numerous social events since its inception, and was recognized for its efforts at the Alumni Association’s Leader Weekend conference on August 1.

The meeting will also provide an opportunity to greet Dooley, 56, who was appointed in May by the R.I. Board of Governors for Higher Education to serve as URI’s 11th president. Dooley previously served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. He succeeds Dr. Robert L. Carothers, who retired this summer after 18 years at URI.

RIDOT and URI have a strong relationship through the University’s Transportation Center, which was created in 1999 to conduct multidisciplinary education, research, technology transfer, and outreach for surface transportation systems and advanced transportation infrastructure. Each year RIDOT collaborates with the Transportation Center to host numerous activities aimed at introducing middle and high school students to potential careers in transportation though a Robotics Challenge, Engineering Career Day and Construction Career Days and Summer Academies in Engineering, Construction and Business.

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Directions: The meeting will take place in the conference room of the Transportation Management Center, which is located on the first floor of RIDOT’s Operations Center, 2 Capitol Hill in Providence.

RIDOT Opening Four Lanes on the Henderson Bridge

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it will be removing concrete barrier from the Henderson Bridge, often called the “New Red Bridge,” this week. The restoration of travel lanes is about 12 weeks ahead of schedule.

The barrier removal will take place today, Monday, August 17, 2009 and tomorrow, Tuesday, August 18 during the evening and overnight hours. During the barrier removal operation, motorists may encounter congestion and lane restrictions between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.

This activity marks the end of lane restrictions on the bridge that have been in place since a bridge rehabilitation project began last year. Although the travel lanes will be reopened, additional work on the bridge will continue into the fall with occasional lane closures needed.

Motorists will now have two travel lanes in each direction between Angell Street on the East Side of Providence and Massasoit Avenue in East Providence. The bridge’s original left travel lanes will remain permanently closed pending a future bridge rehabilitation contract.

The bridge also will be open to bicyclists in both directions. RIDOT is adding plates to cover the bridge’s expansion joints and next month the Department will complete restriping of the entire bridge, which will better delineate the new bike lanes.

The $3.3 million project involved steel repair, replacement of bridge joints, a new drainage system and other improvements. The goal of the project is to extend the service life of the bridge, which was built in 1969.

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Contact: Charles St. Martin, x. 4007

Additions to RIDOT Travel Advisories Website

The following are new additions to the RIDOT Travel Advisories website at http://www.tmc.dot.ri.gov/traveladvisories:

Other Limited Access Highway Restrictions

»Overnight
North Smithfield: Rte. 146 SB at School St. and Great Rd. bridges, roadway closed at Forestdale exit for bridge rehabilitation, Monday & Tuesday nights from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Detour using Rte. 146A.

»Weekday
Portsmouth: Rte. 24 NB Exit 3 (Hummocks Ave.) closed for construction Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Detour using Exit 5 (Rte. 138/Main Rd.) to reverse direction to Rte. 24 SB. This does not affect the permanent truck detour, Exit 2 (Boyds Lane) to the Mt. Hope Bridge.

Friday, August 14, 2009

RIDOT Travel Advisories

The RIDOT weekly Traffic report for August 15-21, 2009 is now available. Please see:
http://www.tmc.dot.ri.gov/traveladvisories/default.asp.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The RIDOT weekly Traffic report for August 8-14, 2009 is now available.

Please see:
http://www.tmc.dot.ri.gov/traveladvisories/default.asp.

Conant Street Bridge Replacement Postponed

The Conant Street Bridge, which is owned and maintained by the City of Pawtucket, was scheduled to be replaced by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT). While it was advertised this July, the project has been put on hold due to developments with Amtrak.

“RIDOT is committed to moving forward with the Conant Street Bridge’s replacement,” said Michael P. Lewis, RIDOT’s Director. “Unanticipated legal issues have developed and will mean that the Department will propose legislation in order to satisfy these concerns.”

“RIDOT has been an excellent partner and had been moving forward with the bidding process,” said Pawtucket Mayor James E. Doyle. “Unfortunately Amtrak is not able to allow RIDOT access to the area that is needed to replace this bridge and now this project will be delayed.”

The Conant Street Bridge was originally built in 1913 and carries Conant Street over Amtrak and the P&W Railroads between Mineral Spring Avenue and Barton and Weeden Streets in Pawtucket. The existing bridge was closed to traffic in 1990.

The existing bridge is a two span steel through girder bridge with steel floor beams, steel stringers, and a concrete bridge deck. The existing roadway consists of two 13-foot travel lanes with two 6-foot wide shoulders. The existing abutments are stone and the center pier is steel with a concrete base. The bridge carries gas and water lines with electric, telephone, and cable lines overhead.

When replaced the new bridge will be a single span truss structure with steel floor beams, steel stringers, and a concrete deck. The new roadway will have two 13-foot travel lanes and two 5-foot wide sidewalks.

The new bridge will be made of weathering steel which will develop a protective patina of rust over the base steel and will therefore require less maintenance. New concrete abutments will also be built to support the new truss structure. The bridge will carry the same utilities as the existing bridge.

Additionally, as part of the project, most of Conant Street will be repaved and the sidewalks reconstructed from the East abutment to just short of the Mineral Spring Avenue intersection.

The new bridge has been designed to carry all modern truck loads and has a design life of between 75 and 100 years. The estimated construction cost for this project is $7 million which includes all utility and railroad force account work.

“RIDOT is committed to working with all of the parties involved to come to a resolution and allow the Conant Street Bridge to be replaced as soon as possible,” said Lewis.

The Pawtucket delegation is working along with RIDOT and other City, State and Federal Officials to work with Amtrak and resolve any issues that would further delay the construction of the new bridge.

Contact: Dana Alexander Nolfe 401-222-1362 x4450

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Travel Advisory Update

The following addition to Travel Advisory page for the week of August 1- August 7, located at http://www.tmc.dot.ri.gov/traveladvisories/default.asp, has been made:

Richmond: Rte. 138 EB and WB, from Richmond Townhouse Rd (Rte. 112) to Beaver River Rd. Right shoulder closed for survey work and installations, Wednesday- Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Travel Advisory Update

Cumberland: Rte. 295 SB, from Ext. 10 (Mendon Rd.) to Old River Rd., expect delays due to closure of two right lanes for bridge deck repairs overnight on Tuesday from 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

Current Traffic Incidents

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