RIDOT tallies banner year of projects

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is making good on a promise earlier this year to rebuild itself from the inside out, the department said Thursday — as the department has also been pushing itself into high gear on improving roads.

As director Peter Alviti noted in a quarterly report ending September 30, the DOT put $174 million worth of contracts out for bid during the 2016 federal fiscal year, $60 million more than the previous year.

The state has started projects — advertised contracts — in these categories:

  • 32 bridges in 18 projects, $105.3 million
  • 8 pavement fixes, $30.3 million
  • 10 traffic projects, $13.2 million
  • 2 transportation alternative projects, $7.1 million
  • 11 maintenance and operations projects, $18.1 million

“This work not only represents much-needed improvements to our transportation infrastructure made possible by our RhodeWorks program, but also represents jobs for construction industry and additional economic benefits derived from having smooth roads and well-maintained bridges,” Alviti said.

The “internal rebuilding” plan came as a suggestion in the first quarterly report Alviti issued in January.

The DOT is also celebrating that the state’s 10-year plan for transportation received approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration, and noted the “memoranda of understanding” with the FHWA on the RhodeWorks plan to implement bridge tolls for large commercial vehicles, which makes it clear, the DOT said, “that the federal government agrees with Rhode Island’s program” and that it meets the toll eligibility requirement in federal law.

Other successes they cited include:

The East Shore Expressway and McCormick Quarry Bridges in East Providence were rapidly replaced in September.

A highway welcome center in South County was reopened ahead of Labor Day Weekend.

The Providence-Newport ferry had a successful year, exceeding ridership projections by 17 percent by logging more than 33,200 passengers.

The long-anticipated Pawtucket-Central Falls Commuter Rail Station also received a competitive TIGER grant of $13.1 million, and construction kicked off at the end of October.