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Governor Chafee, RIDOT announce transfer of former I-195 land for development

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced the completion of the land transfer process between the State and the I-195 Redevelopment Commission. The transfer will provide $38.4 million to be used to fund the remaining contracts of the Iway (I-195 Relocation) Project and will pave the way for redevelopment of 27 acres of property in the heart of Providence.

"This is a very exciting time with work just underway in providing utilities and realigning city streets around these parcels and now the transfer of land ownership that allows the I-195 Redevelopment Commission to complete its mission of bringing new businesses and jobs to Rhode Island," Governor Chafee said. "We have long talked about the benefits of the Iway project in freeing up land under the old highway for development and are about to see that come to reality."

A total of 21 parcels were transferred, including 17 parcels representing 19 developable acres and three parcels totaling 8 acres to be designated as park land. Another very small undevelopable parcel was included in the transfer. The $38.4 million is in addition to the $3.6 million realized last year by the sale of two parcels to Johnson & Wales University.

"The transfer of these lands represents the first significant milestone of realizing the full potential of this once-in-a-generation opportunity for Rhode Island and the City of Providence," said Commission Chairman Colin Kane. "The high level of inter-agency cooperation serves as an example of efficient and timely permitting for all Rhode Island."

The transfer is a result of exceptional teamwork between many agencies and utilities, including the Governor Chafee's Office, RIDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, the City of Providence Planning and Engineering departments, National Grid, the Providence Water Authority, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, and the Narragansett Bay Commission.

"The Department is proud of its work in completing the Iway and setting the table for this unique economic development opportunity for the State," Director Michael P. Lewis said.

As part of its agreement with the Federal Highway Administration, the proceeds from the sale of former highway land will be used to fund the remaining Iway contracts. Work is underway now on Iway Contract 14, which broke ground on April 8. Through a $13 million contract with Cardi Corporation, RIDOT will establish utilities and street alignments to serve the new parcels between the Providence River and the I-95 corridor. Many of the roads had been bisected by the old elevated highway corridor.

Later this year, RIDOT expects to break ground on a similar project to restore city streets on the east side of the Providence River. Future contracts include resurfacing and landscaping work on the I-95 corridor in late 2013, construction of a pedestrian bridge on the footings of the old Providence River Bridge in late 2014, a realignment of Gano Street in the area of the Washington Bridge in 2014, and establishment of the park areas in 2015.

Construction on the Iway began in 2000 and involved the relocation of 1.5 miles of Interstate highway, including the relocation of I-195 to decrease congestion and improve safety on both I-95 and I-195. All highway segments opened in late 2009 and the former highway corridor was demolished in 2011.

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