Governor Lincoln D. Chafee joined the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and other Federal, State and local officials today to break ground on the Waterfront Drive project in East Providence.
Construction of this project includes about 1.1 miles of new roadway from Warren Avenue to Dexter Road. Waterfront Drive will open up approximately 285 acres of undeveloped and underdeveloped industrially zoned land, and improve access and connections to other modes of transportation for future businesses.
“The Waterfront Drive project is an example of a successful collaboration between Federal, State, and municipal government,” Governor Chafee said. “The Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the State Department of Transportation, and the City of East Providence have worked together to make this tremendous project possible.”
The work also will serve as a pilot project for the Diesel Retrofit Program established by the State, which aims to reduce carbon emissions on construction vehicles. The program will be conducted in cooperation with the University of Rhode Island, which will help implement the plans and monitor the results.
“While there are many economic benefits to the project, the environmental benefits also are important to note,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “This project will provide vital waterfront access, clean up contamination and encourage redevelopment along the East Providence Waterfront.”
The work is expected to produce short-term and long-term benefits for both the State and the City of East Providence. Construction will generate jobs over an 18 month period, and the work likely will generate more jobs in the future through redevelopment resulting from the improved access.
"This groundbreaking marks the culmination of so much hard work, vision, planning, and partnership by the City of East Providence, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, and the Federal government," said Congressman David Cicilline. "When we invest in our roads, our bridges, and our waterways, we can make our communities and our country stronger. These are exactly the kind of investments we should be funding because we put people to work and at the same time ensure we can move goods and services into the 21st Century."
The project was designed in concert with East Providence officials and is consistent with the goals of the East Providence Comprehensive Plan and the East Providence Waterfront Development District Plan. The new access also will divert truck traffic from residential streets that were not designed to handle them, and improve traffic circulation in the immediate area.
“The construction of Waterfront Drive is critical to opening up hundreds of acres of underutilized land to new development and will also benefit existing businesses with safer and more efficient access and is expected to contribute to the growth of these businesses,” said East Providence Mayor Bruce Rogers.
Contact: Bryan Lucier 222-1362, Ext. 4012