The future of more than $480 million worth of transportation construction and construction-related programs in Rhode Island was assured on Election Day, November 7, when Ocean State voters overwhelmingly approved (75 percent) Referendum 5, the Transportation Bond Question.
In October, James Capaldi, director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, had urged to voters to pass Referendum 5. Without the approval of the $88.5-million referendum, he said, RIDOT would not be able to match $394 million in federal funds for improvements to the state's highways, roads and bridges over the next two years. He also pointed out that the state's federal dollars would be given away to other states if Rhode Island can't match them.
Apparently, voters were convinced, and approved the measure. The vote allows RIDOT to continue work on the $500-million relocation of the intersection of I-195 and I-95 in downtown Providence, and other major projects as well, including road jobs in Middletown, Portsmouth, North Providence, Providence, Airport Road in Warwick, and the Arctic Circulator in West Warwick. Also given the green light are bridge construction projects including Stillwater Bridge in Smithfield, the Conant Street Bridge in Pawtucket and the Henderson Bridge in Providence.
Other construction programs that might have been postponed for lack of funding are improvements to the statewide bike path program, the statewide road-striping program and overall safety upgrades. Mass transit construction financing is also assured. For example, included in the referendum bond is $7 million for extending commuter rail to South County by building the Wickford Junction Train Station.
As an indication of how much work RIDOT has lined up, the agency will advertise 43 projects worth $242 million in the first five months of 2007 alone. Among them is the replacement of the Sakonnet River Bridge between Portsmouth and Tiverton, estimated to cost $125 million. RIDOT is allowing contractors to bid the job with either a steel or concrete option. This comes on the heels of the advertising of 14 projects worth $34 million in the period November 27 through December 31, 2006.
And work will be continuing on the relocation of the mainline of I-195, with the advertising of Contract 11 estimated to cost $32.6 million, and Contract 10, worth $12.2 million.
In other activity related to mainline I-195 construction, a 400-foot section of the new Providence River Bridge, a first-of-a-kind skewed network arch bridge, was set in place just south of the city's Hurricane Barrier on August 28 after being towed on a barge up Narragansett Bay from Quonset Point, R.I. The 3,000-ton bridge section is the center span of the 1,250-foot Providence River Bridge being built by Cardi Corporation under an $85-million contract with RIDOT. It was fabricated in Plainville, Conn., by National Eastern Corp., and delivered in pieces by trucks to Quonset Point where Northeast Steel Co. assembled the bridge. Using multi-axle transporters, the Mammoet Company moved the assembled bridge onto a barge, towed it for three hours to the job site and lowered the structure in place during low tide.
|Quarter 1/1/2007 – 3/31/2007|
|0134A||Hartford Ave. drainage||Johnson||1,500,000|
|0026I||Coventry Greenway bikebath||Coventry||1,400,000|
|0008E||Rt. 146/Tr. 116 landscaping||Lincoln||493,000|
|0087P||I-295 safety/lighting||Cranston, Johnston, Warwick, W. War.||4,000,000|
|0141D||Improvements to Warwick Neck Ave.||Warwick||1,700,000|
|0021M||Blackstone River bike facility||Woonsocket||500,000|
|9006D||Warwick intermodel station||Warwick||289,000|
|0031L||Sakonnet River Bridge demo||Tiverton||600,000|
|9204B||Chatter strip removal||Statewide||350,000|
|9007B||On-call svc. traffic monitoring||Statewide||100,000|
|0145B||Conant St. railroad bridge||4,000,000|
|0106B||Ten Mile River||E. Prov., Pawtucket||1,000,000|
|0071M||High hazard intersections||E. Greenwich||2,000,000|
|0071X||High hazard intersections||Barrington, E. Prov.||2,100,000|
|0115N||2007 pavement striping||Statewide||1,100,000|
|0115P||2007 pavement striping||Statewide||1,600,000|
|9003D||Woonsocket Depot enhancement||Woonsocket||675,000|
|0085A||2007 crack sealing||Statewide||500,000|
|0085B||2007 surface sealing||Statewide||1,000,000|
|0138A||Hartford Ave. reconstruction||Johnston, Prov.||3,500,000|
|0132D||Salt storage facility||E. Providence||2,000,000|
|0094F||Northwest bike landscaping||Johnston, Prov.||406,000|
|9006C||Wickford Junction Train Sta.||12,000,000|
|0130G||Elmwood Ave. 1R & traffic signals||Providence||5,000,000|
|0131G||West Main Road 1R||Middletown||3,800,000|
|0071N||High hazard intersections||Cranston||1,000,000|
|0165P||1R improvements to Atwells Ave.||Providence||1,030,000|
|0008F||Route 146 guardrail||No. Smithfield||1,500,000|
|0085C||Old Plainfield Pike||Foster||600,000|
|0061H||Route 44 improvements||Glocester||600,000|
|Quarter 4/1/2007 – 5/26/2007|
|0147A||Improve ramp access||Charlestown||1,900,000|
|0132C||Salt storage facility||No. Kingstown||1,500,000|
|0031E & K||Replacement of Sakonnet River Bridge (Concrete or steel option)||Portsmouth, Tiverton||125,000,000|
|0049H||Jamestown-Verrazzono Bridge improve.||2,500,000|
|0132E||Salt storage facility||Smithfield||3,400,000|
|0078M||ADA Providence Streets||Providence||600,000|
|0019B||East Bay bike path resurf./striping||Warren||250,000|