The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it will temporarily change the traffic patterns on Hope Street and Thames Street in downtown Bristol to establish two one-way roads. The new traffic patterns are scheduled to go into effect on Monday, April 2, 2012, and motorists may encounter delays due to re-striping operations beginning at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, 2012.
The new traffic patterns will remain in place until the Hope Street Improvement Project is completed in late summer.
Although the project has been under construction since last summer, the remaining work, combined with the narrow roadway, would take longer and be more disruptive if the Department left Hope Street two-way during reconstruction. RIDOT estimates that the use of the one-way traffic patterns will reduce the duration of the project by nine months.
"Working in downtown areas is always challenging, but we feel our approach to the Hope Street project will allow us to complete the work in as short a time frame as possible," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "We apologize in advance for any inconvenience our operations may cause."
Through a $3 million contract with LAL Construction, the Department is replacing curbing and sidewalks, repairing drainage lines and catch basins, removing and replanting street trees, installing decorative lighting, and resurfacing the roadway along a 0.6-mile segment of Hope Street from Constitution Street to Thames Street.
Motorists traveling north on Hope Street (Route 114) will not be affected, although the roadway will be narrowed for one-way travel northbound and some on-street parking may not be available. Motorists heading south on Hope Street will bear right onto Thames Street, just south of Washington Street, and proceed along Thames, which temporarily will be a one-way road southbound. A map showing this new traffic pattern is available online on RIDOT's website at: www.dot.ri.gov/travelri/detourmaps.asp.
To offset the loss of parking on Hope Street, RIDOT will establish approximately 60 additional parking spaces along Thames Street, creating a net increase in the number of parking spots in downtown Bristol during this phase of the project. RIDOT has met and coordinated the implementation of these traffic pattern changes with the Town of Bristol and the Downtown Bristol Merchants Association.
RIDOT will further work to minimize impact by limiting the disturbed areas during sidewalk reconstruction. The Department's specifications require the contractor to maintain access to homes and business using planks, temporary steps or other measures.
The Department also has coordinated this change in traffic patterns with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), and will relocate Hope Street southbound bus stops to Thames Street.
To avoid any disruption to the Bristol Fourth of July Parade, all operations will be suspended and all sidewalks will be left in a safe and passable condition for a two-week period leading up to Independence Day and through the holiday.
Those with questions can contact RIDOT's Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional information will be available on RIDOT's social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Blogger.
Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362, Ext. 4007