Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 07-12-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JULY 12-18, 2018 CUMBERLAND 9 Island Department of Transportation listened to and answered questions about the project Monday evening, as about 100 residents, town employees, politicians and aspiring politicians descended on the community room at the Cumberland Public Library. The reality appearing to dawn on most everyone by the end of Monday's meeting was perhaps best summed up by resident Mike Titus. Though frustrated that RIDOT will "tell us" what Cumberland needs to fix its traffic problems at Chapel Four Corners and the exit ramps, Titus said it's inevitable that the project will move forward, and it will be up to the town to "figure out how we can make it work for us." This is a "bad situation," Titus said, and making it work could be as simple as drivers being courteous and letting others go first. Other residents, who at times voiced loud displeasure at Monday's meeting, had questioned the need to even add roundabouts, citing con- cerns about traffic and safety prob- lems during and after the project is complete. Mayor Bill Murray said the lengthy project will be a difficult one for Cumberland, but the current logjam in the area is "a situation that has to be fixed." He noted that the town has been discussing the project with the state and refining it over the past four years, but ultimately the state decided the final design. The roadwork project is set to begin next Wednesday, July 18, and run through December 2020, said Robens Innocent, a RIDOT project engineer. Much of the latter half of the job is expected to be much less disruptive to the town than the early stages. According to RIDOT officials, the traffic management plan on the proj- ect bans lane closures during morn- ing and evening rush hours, requires one lane for drivers to be open at night, with alternating traffic, and requires two shifted lanes to be open during the day. Nicole Gaudreau, of nearby Ferncrest Drive, was one of those who shared concerns with RIDOT officials about the timing of the whole three-phase corridor, including realigning Chapel Four Corners and adding two roundabouts. Green lights at Chapel Four Corners currently aren't long enough, she said, meaning drivers are pushing the limits on red lights and blocking the intersection for cars that then have green lights. RIDOT representatives assured Gaudreau and others that all parts of the redesigned roadway are intended to work together to keep traffic mov- ing. A realignment of Chapel Four Corners will cut out one of six cur- rent "phases" in the light system and should add about 15 to 20 seconds to green lights. Added turn lanes will allow more cars to move through the intersection in a timely manner, said project manager Steve Soderlund. Residents of both Shirley Drive, on the Dave's Market side of Route 295, and Broadview Avenue, on the J's Deli side, said they fear the new realities of trying to enter and exit streets that are already difficult when roundabouts are keeping traffic flow- ing by. RIDOT officials responded that they'll simply wait for a gap in the traffic before going. Others, such as Home Avenue resi- dents Dan and Jennifer Brousseau, said they're happy about the addition of the roundabouts for getting out of Broadview Avenue because if traffic is bad as they try to take a left onto Diamond Hill Road, they can simply take a right, go around the round- about, and continue on their way. The primary reason the Brousseaus attended Monday's meeting, how- ever, was their concern about losing the extensive tree line they currently have between their family's "dream home" and the Route 295 south exit ramp. They were assured that though they'll lose the trees, RIDOT plans to add shrubbery around a new storm- water basin. The Brousseaus said they were impressed with the amount of "intel- ligent research" that's gone into the roundabout project. It was clear, they said, that designers are thinking about where drivers are coming from and going to. Resident Nicole Cameron said her main concerns com- ing into the meeting revolved around how RIDOT will main- tain lanes throughout the job, and she said her questions were answered. Ultimately, she said, she believes this will end up being a positive for the area when complete. Town Councilor Bob Shaw agreed, saying after a "learning curve" at other roundabouts in the state, driv- ers seem to eventually learn how they're supposed to be used, and the devices overall are "great" additions. Councilor Lisa Beaulieu said she's heard from residents who are wor- ried about the added impact of truck traffic on Angell Road if drivers seek to avoid future tolls on Route 295, and how that will mix with the roundabout project. David Walsh, community liaison on the project and a former Cumberland resident, said officials are able to monitor all new projects and have the ability to implement changes such as no through-trucking on Angell. Walsh said one of his primary tasks is to make sure the concerns of resi- dents are heard on a daily basis. Also of utmost importance is maintaining flow to existing businesses, he said. Innocent said RIDOT represen- tatives will stay "very involved" throughout the project, sending out frequent updates on what's happen- ing. Residents will first see extensive utility work, he said, including mov- ing telephone poles outward to widen BREEZE PHOTO BY ETHAN SHOREY DAN and JENNIFER BROUSSEAU, left, ask questions of RIDOT project managers Steve Soderlund and Robens Innocent. ROUNDABOUTS From Page One the roads and then moving natural gas and water pipes. The overarching goal of this entire project is to improve traffic flow and reduce traffic problems, he said. Answering residents who asked about rules for the roundabouts, and whether they'll be followed, RIDOT officials said they're contemplating a wider campaign to publicize rules for the circular traffic devices as they're implemented more regularly across the state. The rules for a roundabout give drivers already in the circle the right of way. Anyone taking a right onto the highway or going straight down Diamond Hill Road will be required to stay in the right lane of two round- about lanes, said representatives Monday, while anyone going around the roundabout will be required to travel the inside left lane. Murray on Monday clarified that an earlier significant traffic backup in the area of Route 295 on Monday was not due to construction starting on the roundabouts, but to a "mis- communication" with the contractor working on a water line replacement farther up on Diamond Hill Road. The contractor crossed the road with work despite being asked not to, creating the lengthy traffic jam, he said. CAMERON Cumberland library holding SAT prep class July 25 CUMBERLAND – The Cumberland Public Library, 1464 Diamond Hill Road, will hold an SAT prep class on Wednesday, July 25, from 4 to 6 p.m. Teens taking the SATs in August or October are invited to become familiar with the new SAT format and learn tips to help them do better on the test. Students will learn about free web- sites to support planning for the SAT and useful strategies to use when studying for the SAT, as well as obtain a packet of SAT information and tips. The class will be taught by R.I. Tutorial and Educational Services, Inc. Spaces are limited. Register online or at the library's reference desk. For more information, contact Liz Gotauco at 401-333-2552 ext. 6 or liz@cumberlandlibrary.org .

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