Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti today joined with Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit, Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and other federal, state and local leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking for the next section of the Blackstone River Bikeway.
This 0.6 mile segment will stretch from Cold Spring Park in Woonsocket to Meadows Park in North Smithfield. Today's event took place in Cold Spring Park along the edge of the Blackstone River.
The new bike path will add to the 16.4 miles of the Blackstone River Bikeway RIDOT has built in multiple segments since 1998, making it Rhode Island's second-longest bike path. Statewide, RIDOT has established a bike path network of over 60 miles in length.
"This path marks the continued investment and commitment to provide Rhode Islanders with multiple transportation alternatives as part of our RhodeWorks program," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. "All told we have 20 projects representing $74 million of new bike paths in our 10-year plan."
This new bike path, called segment 8C, will cost $4.5 million. The Green Economy Bond, which voters in 2016 overwhelmingly approved to support investments in water quality, land cleanup, farmland, recreational facilities and open space, will cover $1.4 million of the project's construction cost.
"Rhode Island's scenic bikeways are a treasure that add to the beauty and quality of recreating and living in Rhode Island," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "This project will give people more opportunities to take in the sights and experience the natural beauty and history that the Blackstone River Valley has to offer. And it is one of ten new bikeway projects across the state being funded under the 2016 Green Economy Bond. I cannot thank our partners enough - RIDOT, the City of Woonsocket, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and so many others - for their continued advocacy and support of these important investments."
The new bike path is entirely off-road, and includes a 182-foot truss style bridge spanning the Blackstone River between Woonsocket and North Smithfield. It travels on or adjacent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control System along the river. Construction will take approximately two years, with the new path opening in Fall 2019.
Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt enthusiastically supported this initiative and stated, "The expanded Blackstone River Bikeway promotes a physically active, healthy, outdoor lifestyle that individuals and families of all ages can safely engage in." The Mayor added, "Not only does cycling and walking help the environment by reducing reliance on motor vehicles, but this expanded bikeway will attract tourists through a beautiful section of our City."
The path also connects to the Massachusetts border, and is a short is distance from a new 3.7-mile segment of the Blackstone River Greenway in Blackstone, Mass. It is part of the East Coast Greenway, a proposed national bike path more than 3,000 miles long from Maine to Florida.
The Blackstone River Bikeway Segment 8C project is made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT's ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island's transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair, promote economic development, and create jobs. Learn more at www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks.