JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — As the weather continues to warm up, the R.I. Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is ramping up its efforts to improve the state’s infrastructure.
In a news conference Friday, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. laid out the agency’s plans for the 2019 construction season, saying it expects to have $715.6 million worth of active construction on 77 projects statewide.
Alviti said $715 million “is a large sum of money, but that’s what it needs to be in order to accomplish the mission of bringing our infrastructure into a state of good repair.”
Citing a study that ranked Rhode Island’s roads and bridges ranked last in the nation, Alviti said RIDOT is making great strides in achieving the goal set forth by Gov. Gina Raimondo’s RhodeWorks plan: getting 90% of bridge deck structurally sufficient by 2025.
“People are seeing a difference that RhodeWorks is making in the condition of our roads and bridges,” he said.
In those 77 planned projects, work will be done on 177 bridges – about 10% of all in the state, according to Alviti – to not only repair deficiencies but also prolong their lifespans.
He highlighted the following:
- The $410 million 6/10 Interchange Reconstruction Project is well underway
- About $59 million worth of work is set to begin on 15 bridges along the Route 37 corridor from Post Road in Warwick to the Pontiac Avenue interchange, including safety improvements in and around the latter
- Seven large projects worth around $120 million will address I-95 bridges from South County to Pawtucket
- About $85 million worth of improvements will be made to I-295 bridges in Cranston, Johnston and Cumberland
- On Plainfield Pike, four bridges that were built in the late 1960s and carrying tens of thousands of vehicles per day will be replaced
Alviti asked that Rhode Islanders be patient through all the construction work. In an effort to minimize traffic impacts, he said RIDOT workers will be installing temporary bridges for some projects and in others they’ll again be using accelerated bridge construction methods.
“I think [travelers] know that while it’s providing them some inconvenience now, in the long run it’s going to make things safer and easier to travel through Rhode Island,” Alviti said.
“I think our project managers and our traffic engineers and the contractors are creating very precise ways to move people through the construction zones with a minimal amount of delay,” he added. “There’s always some friction that comes with it.”
Alviti touted improvements to his team’s planning and execution. He said five years ago less than 50% of RIDOT’s projects were on time and on budget, but now more than 90% are on the mark.