‘You’re starting to feel that pulse’: State, local officials tour site of soon-to-be Pawtucket rail station

Blackstone Valley

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A new commuter rail and bus hub is slated to open on time in Pawtucket, according to state officials.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed joined Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien, Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera and Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti to tour construction progress at the new Pawtucket-Central Falls Commuter Rail Station and Bus Hub on Pine Street and Goff Avenue in Pawtucket.

“As you see it visible, people are now starting to finally see belief, right? You know, I mean, it’s going to happen,” Grebien said.

The new hub will provide a station for commuter rail customers in the area looking to head to Boston, Providence, or even Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport.

Riders will also be able to switch between the commuter rail and RIPTA’s statewide bus network, which will give users of the currently-closed South Attleboro station a alternative stop nearby.

Alviti said they don’t expect the South Attleboro station to reopen when Pawtucket’s project is projected to be completed, which is in mid-summer of 2022.

“We bought enough land recently here to put an additional 200 spaces, or about 400 [total] that our engineers and planners have determined would be an adequate number of spaces if we got passengers both from Attleboro and the ones we originally expected here,” Alviti said.

Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), earmarked $1.96 million in 2008 for Pawtucket and RIDOT to undertake preliminary engineering and environmental studies to support the project.

The senator also helped to secure a $13.1 million federal “BUILD grant,” as well as over $5 million in federal bus facility grants to help pay for the $47 million project.

City officials are hoping not only that locals will use the multimodal transportation hub to commute to places like Boston, but also people will come and see what Pawtucket and Central Falls have to offer.

Grebien said even before the project on Pine Street is complete, Pawtucket is already seeing new economic activity.

“You’re starting to feel that pulse, and you’re seeing it, so it’s exciting,” Grebien said.

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