BY: JOSEPH FITZGERALD
CENTRAL FALLS — On winter hiatus for the past few months, a $3.9 million federally-funded roadway improvement project along Dexter Street in Central Falls and Pawtucket is expected to resume in the spring.
With curbing, sidewalks, driveways and pedestrian signals nearly completed last year, bridge repairs and resurfacing will be the main focus of the 2016 construction season, according to city officials.
The long awaited, roughly one-year project will see Rhode Island Department of Transportation crews resurface the roadway from School Street in Central Falls to Goff Avenue in Pawtucket, replace sidewalks and curbing, upgrade existing traffic signal equipment, install stamped asphalt crosswalks, plant new trees, add new roadway signs and pavement markings, and make minor drainage improvements.
Most of the curbing, sidewalks, driveways and pedestrian signals were finished last November. The next phase of the project begins this spring with of work on the remaining sidewalks in Central Falls, repairs to the Dexter Street Bridge, which carries Dexter Street over the Amtrak and Providence & Worcester rail lines in Pawtucket, and road resurfacing the entire stretch of Dexter from Central Falls to Pawtucket.
Once the resurfacing is completed, RIDOT will also add road markings known as "sharrows," a marking used to raise motorists' awareness to the potential of cyclists on the road.
“The project will resume once it is warm enough to be able to pour the concrete,” says Blake Collins, the city’s business outreach and public relations coordinator.
The project kicked off last summer with surveying, tree removal and sidewalk replacement. The contractor started at Goff Avenue and headed northbound toward School Street, working in 500-foot sections at a time. The work required partial lane closures on Dexter Street as well as parking restrictions within the work zone, but Collins said the RIDOT worked with the city to ensure that impacts to residents and businesses were kept to a minimum wherever possible.
That same spirit of cooperation will continue when work starts up again, he said.
“We do realize that this kind of work can cause difficulties and challenges so we’re asking our residents and business owners for patience,” he said. “The project is on schedule and we want our residents and business owners to know there is an open line to City Hall and that we will address any and all questions and concerns.”
The work on Dexter Street represents a big win as far as the city’s plans for economic development and is part of Mayor James Diossa’s longterm vision to attract businesses and shoppers to our most vital economic areas. The project includes a $3.9 million contract awarded to D'Ambra Construction and a five percent budget contingency of $195,000. The project is scheduled to reach substantial completion in fall 2016.
"The revitalization of Dexter Street will be the cause for a lot of smiles among business owners and residents in Central Falls. These improvements are the foundation to an improved economic climate in this city," Diossa said at the project’s groundbreaking over the summer. “Downtown Dexter Street is one of the most vital economic areas in this community and I'm thankful that our governor, RIDOT, and our federal delegation have come together to solve a major issue in Central Falls."
The Dexter Street Bridge is one of the primary gateways linking Pawtucket and Central Falls. Pawtucket is already underway in addressing the roads and infrastructure within that city. In November 2014, voters overwhelmingly approved a bond that will see over 30 miles of City streets repaved and resurfaced. Those repairs have commenced and will be ongoing throughout the fall.
"The Dexter Street Bridge is one of the primary gateways linking Pawtucket and Central Falls,” said Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien. “This infrastructure improvement project and others like it throughout our communities are positioning Pawtucket and Central Falls for future growth and development.”
Original story can be found in the 2/17 edition of the Pawtucket Times.