NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — The town of North Kingstown is getting a financial boost for a project to make one of its busiest roadways more pedestrian-friendly.

The $2 million in federal funding will be used to install new sidewalks along Post Road (Route 1). Officials called it a “major step forward” for a project that’s been in the works for years.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed was on hand Thursday to announce the funding, along with R.I. Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti and North Kingstown leaders.

“Adding these sidewalks will make Post Road more walkable and give people more options to safely get where they need to go,” Reed said. “And walkable streets are good for business. So this is a smart, targeted investment in pedestrian safety and economic development.”

“This is an important project for our community that our town has been trying to jumpstart for some time. This funding will do that,” Town Council President Greg Mancini added. “The project itself is important to the town because it significantly increases pedestrian access to high-traffic areas and is a vital part of revitalizing Post Road.”

Officials said sidewalks will be added or replaced on both sides of Post Road between Camp Avenue and West Main Street, as well as on West Main Street from Post Road to Brown Street. They also noted the sidewalks will be Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.

“We will be moving into the design phase right away, and will be working with the town on the design elements for this project which will both replace existing substandard sidewalks and add new sidewalks along these roads,” Alviti explained.

“While I have prioritized moving this project forward over the past few years, the Post Road, West Main Street Sidewalk Project has been in the works for a decade,” Town Manager Ralph Mollis said. “The rising cost of this project has made it challenging. This federal earmark from Senator Reed will allow this long awaited and critical pedestrian and business-friendly project to move forward.”

The entire project is expected to cost about $8 million, officials said, and RIDOT estimates construction will begin in fall 2024.