Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded $1.6 million in grants to Rhode Island for a series of road and bridge projects. The grants are among a nationwide distribution of funds which RIDOT applied for earlier this summer.
The grants include:
• $847,860 for projects related to transit-oriented development in the area of the train station at the InterLink facility at T.F. Green State Airport.
• A waiver of the customary 20 percent state match (valued at approximately $600,000) for replacement of the East Shore Expressway Bridge in East Providence.
• $350,000 for replacement of three structurally deficient bridges in and near the Arcadia Management Area in Exeter.
• $250,260 for training to help disadvantaged business enterprises prepare to compete for Federal highway contracts.
• $225,000 to provide additional training to help individuals prepare for careers in highway construction.
"I believe that one of the most valuable investments our state can make is in our infrastructure," Governor Chafee said. "These federal grants will help Rhode Island plan for the future, in addition to strengthening our infrastructure-related construction economy. I am particularly pleased that a significant portion of the funds will go toward further developing Warwick's Station District. As Mayor and U.S. Senator, I fought to make the InterLink project a reality and I look forward to seeing the advancements and improvements these funds will enable."
The largest of the grants for projects near the T.F. Green Station is provided under FHWA's Transportation, Community, and System Preservation Program. The funds will be used to advance and implement the Warwick Station Development District Master Plan developed by the City of Warwick. The Plan is expected to guide approximately 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development. It envisions a highly-visible, mixed-use, transit-oriented growth center within walking distance of a full range of transportation and live/work options. The City is seeking to capitalize on the public investment in multimodal transportation infrastructure by promoting high-value, mixed-use development to attract visitors and business people who use the station and airport while providing a center of opportunity for new development.
"Having well-developed streets and sidewalks is a key component of integrating the InterLink into the City of Warwick and supporting the District for future development," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "The end result is a better connection between the City, the Airport, the InterLink and the T.F. Green commuter rail station."
"We are grateful to the Federal Highway Administration for recognizing how important this project is to the economic vitality and growth of the city and the state as a whole," said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. "These funds will help us to move forward more quickly with construction on critical pedestrian and safety infrastructure improvements, allowing us to market and develop the District earlier than we had originally projected."
RIDOT's relief of the 20 percent state match for the East Shore Expressway Bridge was received under the FHWA's Highways for Life program. This bridge, which carries traffic from I-195 East onto Exit 7 (Route 114) and over Warren Avenue in East Providence, was built in 1959 and is considered structurally deficient. In May, RIDOT posted a 17-ton weight limit on this bridge. The route is the primary access route to the East Bay area of Rhode Island.
The replacement of the East Shore Expressway Bridge will be done using accelerated bridge construction methods which will substantially shorten construction time. As currently proposed, components of the replacement bridge would be built off site and moved into position using self-propelled modular transporters. These devices were used on the Iway project, chiefly for moving the new Providence River Bridge from its assembly site at the Quonset Business Park to barges waiting to transport it to Providence in 2006.
The rehabilitation of three bridges in the Arcadia Management Area in Exeter falls under FHWA's Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment Program. They include the Breakheart Brook Bridge, the Frosty Hollow Road Bridge and Midway Bridge. These small-span timber decked bridges are structurally deficient. They also will be built using accelerated bridge construction methods to complete the bridge replacement projects much faster as compared with conventional construction methods.
The two training grants are funded by the FHWA Civil Rights office. They will support the Department's efforts to aid minority-owned businesses through its Mission 360 program for disadvantaged business enterprises and its workforce development and on-the-job training programs.
Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007