Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed and Rep. Peter Martin joined Director Michael Lewis and other Department of Transportation officials for a walking tour/news conference held to outline improvements soon to begin in theAmerica’s Cup Avenue/Memorial Boulevard area of Newport.
The road project is being undertaken as part of the DOT’s Rhode Island Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions (RISTARS) program, a new initiative for delivering low-cost and high-benefit safety and mobility improvements in a more efficient and rapid manner than traditional road projects. The RISTARS pilot program covers the Aquidneck Island communities ofNewport, Middletown and Portsmouth.
“The improvements outlined during today’s tour will make a significant difference in motorist and pedestrian safety in one of the busiest areas of our community,” said President Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown). “The work to be done is not just about new road surfaces and sidewalks. It’s also about supporting and enhancing the commercial vitality of this area and the overall economic health of the community.”
Representative Martin (D-Dist. 75, Newport) began lobbying DOT for improvements in the America’s Cup Avenue/Memorial Boulevard area soon after passage and enactment in 2012 of the “complete streets” legislation he sponsored, which provides for pedestrian, bicycle and disabled access in the design and upgrade of roads and highways.
“I want to thank DOT for being so accommodating and supportive of our efforts to make necessary improvements in this area of the city that is so heavily used, by motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Representative Martin. “The various improvements at this intersection, along with additional crosswalks on America’s Cup Avenue, will make travel easier and safer, which is the ultimate goal of the work to be done.”
The project, which went out to bid earlier this summer and which is scheduled to begin in November, will include, in addition to the new crosswalks, additional sidewalks along America’s Cup Avenue, replacement of concrete curbing with granite along the America’s Cup Avenue/Memorial Boulevard corridor from Gladys Bolhouse Boulevard to Memorial Boulevard, and improvements to the median between Market Square and the south end of America’s Cup Avenue. Signage and lighting in the area will be upgraded, bike lanes will be added on Memorial Boulevard, pedestrian signals will be upgraded with increased crossing times, wheelchair ramps will be reconstructed and landscaping improvements will be undertaken.
All of the work, at a cost of $2.8 million, is expected to be completed by June, 2015.
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