Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 09-05-2019

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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NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET | VALLEY BREEZE | SEPTEMBER 5-11, 2019 THE VALLEY / LETTER 13 The changes were approved as part of an amendment to the 10-year State Transportation Improvement Program that was first proposed on July 23. Last Thursday, Aug. 29, members of the State Planning Council voted 18-1 to approve the changes, which include reducing funding and reshuffling timelines for road, bridge, bike and pedestrian projects throughout the state. Several local leaders expressed frustration with the changes, includ- ing Rep. Brian Newberry, of North Smithfield, whose district covers most of the section of Route 146 in need of repaving. Newberry pointed out that the section serves as a major access road to the state and has dealt with repeated potholes and other problems in recent years. "I don't understand how the state government is going to wait another five years," he said. "There's not going to be a road in five years." Town Administrator Gary Ezovski was also critical of the changes and said he hopes to continue lobbying state officials to move up the sched- uled repaving in the months ahead. "I think it really just comes down to all of the northern Rhode Island leadership, both local and legislative positions, to keep talking about it wherever, whenever they can," he said. It's not the first time local leaders have pushed for changes on that particular stretch of highway. In 2018, Newberry and several other northern Rhode Island legislators sent a letter requesting state offi- cials move up the scheduled paving due to poor conditions in the area. The letter, according to Newberry, resulted in a small patch being applied on either side of the Sayles Hill Road intersection, but was not successful in moving up the full pav- ing project from its originally sched- uled start date of 2022. "When they put out the amend- ment to push it back two more years, I just saw red," he said. "Not only is it foolish from a policy per- spective, it's an insult to every single one of us who signed that letter." Though the two local leaders have been critical of the changes over the past month, their concerns have been largely overshadowed by the statewide response to bike and pedestrian projects also included in the STIP amendment. The amend- ment reshuffles $37 million in funds previously targeted for the state Transportation Alternatives Program, a change that drew strong criticism from legislators and bicycle advocacy groups around the state. Dozens of supporters of bike and pedestrian projects turned out for public hearings in Narragansett and Providence last month or emailed comments that were then compiled into a public response report nearly 200 pages long. By contrast, only a small number of individuals, including Ezovski and Newberry, spoke about the proposed changes to the Route 146 paving schedule and requested state officials reconsider the changes. Ezovski said he's seen residents talk- ing about the issue on social media, but thinks more individuals should take the time to write to their state legislators, RIDOT and the gover- nor's office if they want state offi- cials to take notice. "It's easy to offer these courageous keyboard comments, but they need to make contact with the people that we rely on to get these things done," he said. "We like to think that they get thousands of emails on issues. I don't think they do. (If) they get a dozen emails on a subject, it's a lot." While several bike projects in other parts of the state were affected by the changes, changes to the Blackstone River Bikeway were limited to Pawtucket, where a sec- tion scheduled to start construction in 2019 has been delayed due to a change of funding source. Two sec- tions scheduled to start construction in 2020 in Woonsocket have slightly modified start times but remain fully funded, according to the amend- ment. The changes had a larger effect on boating projects in the Blackstone Valley. Two projects intended to open up river access, a landing large enough to dock the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council's Explorer riverboat in Woonsocket and a canoe/kayak launch on the Ten Mile River in Pawtucket, have both been placed on hold after the amendment eliminated RIDOT funding for the projects. In a statement released with the changes in July, the RIDOT noted the amended plan reflects a spending increase over 10 years of $358.7 million, but said the state's Pavement Capital Program had been reduced by $61 million based on available funding sources. "The amendment reflects changes necessary for RIDOT to achieve its core mission of reaching a 90 percent bridge sufficiency rating by 2025 to meet state and federal man- dates," the statement said. NORTH SMITHFIELD – A por- tion of Pound Hill Road between Gilfillan Road and Phoenix Rising Horse Farm will be closed next week as contractors repair a deteriorated culvert over Cherry Brook. According to a notice from Cardi Construction Industries, the road will close on Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 a.m. and remain closed until Friday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. During this time, traffic will be detoured via Route 146 and Great Road, with detour signs going into place this week. Residents on either side of the closed bridge will be able to access their homes. According to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, about 3,000 vehicles drive over the bridge every day. The work involves replac- ing a large section of metal culvert that has severely eroded underneath the road. During the closure, crews will divert the stream, remove the old section and replace it with a new sec- tion of culvert. The project is expect- ed to be complete within a week. The work is part of a $7.1 million state contract to repair six bridges in North Smithfield and one in Providence known as "Bridge Group 13A." Other bridges in the project include the Route 146 bridge over Old Great Road repaired this past spring and the Route 146 bridge over the Branch River just before the northbound exit for Forestdale and Slatersville. The work, part of the agency's RhodeWorks initiative to bring the state's bridges up to standard, is expected to wrap up in spring 2020. The project is separate from the ongoing work to repair the Route 146 bridge over Pound Hill Road less than a mile west of the sched- uled closure. That project, part of the same contract that saw Woonsocket Hill Road Bridge replaced last year, includes rehabilitating the concrete arch and replacing the bridge rail- ings. The project is expected to finish up this fall, according to RIDOT spokesman Charles St. Martin. Pound Hill Road closed for bridge work next week By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com Thanks for the help Thank you so much to the ladies, gentlemen and North Smithfield Rescue who were so kind and helpful to me when I tripped and fell while entering the Bushee School. They were so kind and thoughtful to me and it proves that there are still some wonderful people left in this world. Thanks again! MARY MILLER North Smithfield ROUTE 146 From Page One St. Mark Church will host a yard sale Saturday WOONSOCKET – The annual St. Mark Lutheran Church yard sale will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the church, 871 Harris Ave. They will be offering a variety of different items for sale: DVDs clothing, collectibles, housewares, jewelry, tools, toys and games and furniture. Hot dogs and bottled water will be available for $1 each. If a customer purchases $10 worth of items, they will receive a free hot dog and water. The rain date will be Saturday, Sept. 14. St. Michael Church will hold Ukrainian Festival this Sunday WOONSOCKET – St. Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church will hold its Ukrainian Festival on Sunday, Sept. 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the church, 74 Harris Ave. The event will feature pierogies, stuffed cabbage and more, music and children's entertainment. Admission is free. Visit www.stmichaeluoc.org . Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers. Please: • Limit to 500 words. Longer letters may appear online only. • Letters on local or state topics and issues will take precedence over those on national issues. • No more than one letter per person every 8 weeks, please. • All letters must be signed and include a hometown. Send by e-mail to: news@valleybreeze.com, or mail to The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Independently Owned & Operated by George & Malanie Loya Wood Blinds • Shutters • Roman Shades Woven Wood • Custom Drapery Top Treatments • Verticals and more! Local: 401-356-4770 Free Cordless Upgrade on all Cellular and Pleated Shades Until September 30, 2019 Your guide to nursing home/Medicaid Protection Wills & Trusts Medicaid Planning Probate Northern RI's Premier Full Service Law Firm Jarret Law, LLc 176 Eddie Dowling Highway, Suite 202, North Smithfield, RI 401-769-2929 Aram P. Jarret III, Esq. "Jay" Aram P. Jarret, Jr., Esq.

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