Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) have announced that the next repair project for road damage caused by Hurricane Sandy is currently under way on Sachuest Point Road in Middletown. This roadway leads to the popular Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. Funding for this project is being provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Federal Highway Administration.
"We are grateful to our State and Federal partners for helping us restore access to this vital natural resource that was virtually cut off after Hurricane Sandy," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "When all is said and done, we anticipate making a total investment of over $20 million in repairs to Rhode Island's overall transportation infrastructure – projects that will support good construction jobs for Rhode Islanders."
In January, Congress passed a $51 billion emergency Appropriations package to help millions of victims of Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast. The supplemental bill includes funding championed by U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior & Environment, to meet immediate reconstruction and recovery needs for national wildlife refuges on the Eastern Seaboard, as well as funding for the U.S. Department of Interior to undertake restoration, recovery, and mitigation priorities to protect against future storms and natural disasters.
"I am pleased RIDOT and our federal partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Federal Highway Administration, are working together to repair this road. I will continue working to secure additional federal funds to restore access to this refuge and repair and rebuild other areas impacted by this devastating storm," said Senator Reed, who brought the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to tour storm damage at Sachuest Point back in December.
"This project, which will restore access to one of Rhode Island's natural gems, is yet another example of RIDOT's great work in response to Hurricane Sandy," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "This is an important step, but more work remains to help our state fully recover from the damage of that storm. I was proud to work with Rhode Island's Congressional delegation to help pass a $50.5 billion disaster funding bill, and I congratulate RIDOT on getting a head start on much-needed infrastructure repairs here in our state."
Through an $864,000 contract with Narragansett Improvement, RIDOT is cleaning up the debris and reconstructing about 1,500 feet of Sachuest Point Road. The Department is also providing armor stone, which will protect the road from further erosion during storm surges with high surf. RIDOT's goal is finish the project in May.
The 242-acre Sachuest Point National Wildlife refuge features over 2.5 miles of nature trails. It is renowned for its saltwater fishing, and the presence of the largest winter population of harlequin ducks on the East Coast. The refuge receives over 198,000 recreational visits each year.
"The Fish and Wildlife Service sincerely appreciates the cooperative efforts of Federal Highway, RIDOT, and others in helping to restore access for the public to its National Wildlife Refuge," said Wendy Weber, Northeast Regional Director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
RIDOT has completed hurricane repairs to the seawall and sidewalk on Ocean Road in Narragansett, and Corn Neck Road on Block Island. Repairs to Ocean Drive in Newport and Poppasquash Road in Bristol are currently ongoing.
"The Department has dedicated its resources to making repairs to Hurricane damaged areas as quickly as possible," said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. "We're still committed to completing statewide repairs to municipal roads, repairs to erosion around bridge abutments, and repairs to the historic Cliff Walk in Newport."
Contact: Heidi Gudmundson (401) 222-1362, Ext. 4009