Newport residents, businesses fed up with Broadway construction

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The multi-million project to upgrade Broadway in Newport continues to cause frustration among residents and businesses.

Many say the construction is more than just an eyesore.

“I have quadruplets and a very makeshift stroller here that I rigged up myself and it is incredibly difficult to go on walks with the babies because of the sidewalks,” said resident Jill Palmer. “They’re broken up, there’s trees that come up right in the middle of them.”

Some Broadway businesses are also fed up.

Patti Kendall, owner of Pan Handlers, said she’s lost parking spaces and thousands of dollars in business since construction began in 2012.

“There’s just no end in sight,” she said. “The workers don’t show up, they haven’t been out here for close to a month.”

City Manager Joe Nicholson confirmed Friday that crews haven’t been working for the past four weeks, saying no one from the Department of Transportation or the Cardi Corporation has told him why.

“I’m very happy. I think you have to look at the end result,” he stated. “The criticism is warranted in regard to the length of construction, but the end result is worth it.”

RIDOT also released a statement on Friday saying they aim to finish construction by the end of the year.

“RIDOT is administering this city-funded project, and currently paving is delayed until the city provides updated information related to a change in a crosswalk design that they requested. The project is still on track for completion next spring, however RIDOT is working to complete this project for the City as quickly as possible and is working aggressively to finish by the end of the year.”

Nicholson said the city works closely with businesses and meets with the Broadway Merchants Association every Thursday.

“I’d like to be compensated,” added Kendall. “We’ve lost everything and we’ve stuck it out, we’ve received nothing, not even apologies from the city.”

Nicholson said this is the first time crews have stopped working for an extended period of time.