Alviti: RIDOT’s storm response on par with Mass., Conn.

Blackstone Valley

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti said he’s “pleased” with the agency’s response to Thursday’s blizzard.

“Being pleased with the outcome doesn’t mean that there isn’t always room for improvement,” said Alviti Friday.

Thursday’s storm dumped up to 14 inches of snow on parts of Rhode Island, making a mess of highways and local roads. By Friday, many state roads that were once impassible were once again down to bare pavement.

“Our assessments and the visuals that I’ve been provided show us to have performed equal to or better than adjoining states,” said Alviti.

But the storm wasn’t without incident. Alviti said a car spun out on Route 7, causing a tractor trailer to jackknife. While Alviti said the circumstances that led to that incident were out of RIDOT’s control – he blamed speeding – he said their response to the accident could have been improved. Alviti said the same about their response to a major traffic jam on I-95 in Hopkinton, where a snow-covered incline proved impassible for tractor trailers, and left the drivers behind them stranded for hours. Alviti said they could use contingency plans in the future that would allow RIDOT to tow vehicles, clear the snow, and re-establish the flow of traffic.

Alviti said there were “many accidents” but none resulted in serious injuries. Governor Gina Raimondo implemented a travel ban during a major snow storm in January, 2015, but no such ban was issued Thursday.

“I’m not second-guessing any decisions that were made,” said Alviti, who said ultimately, their job is to keep Rhode Islanders safe. “I think that was accomplished yesterday.”

With more snow expected Friday night, Alviti said RIDOT is still well-within it’s annual snow budget, though the precise cost of Thursday’s storm has not yet been calculated. He said they still have plenty of salt, as well.

“As good as we think we do, it’s never good enough to what we can be doing,” said Alviti.

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