On the cusp of Statehouse debate over trucking tolls to fix bridges, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation has closed the Park Avenue Bridge over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor in Cranston, effective immediately.

The action came after a DOT outside engineering consultant inspected the bridge and found ``significant deterioration in the bridge’s timber deck.’’  The DOT then sent one of its own engineers to inspect the bridge and that probe confirmed the independent analysis.

John Bender / RIPR

The snow is no longer falling, but transportation remains snarled across much of Southern New England.  Public transit has all but shut down in Boston, leaving commuters and others stranded in Providence.

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority halted all commuter train and Subway service at 7 p.m. Tuesday. That left riders in Rhode Island with few good options except Amtrak trains, and even those are running on a limited schedule.

Yet Another Winter Storm Bears Down On Rhode Island

Feb 2, 2015
Catherine Welch / RIPR

More snow is hitting Rhode Island this morning.  The National Weather Service predicts about a foot could fall in the northwestern part of the state. 

Matt Doody, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the rest of the state will see less of the white stuff.  “It drops off fairly quickly, so that the immediate Providence-metro area is anywhere from 6-8 inches, and then the coastline is probably only on the order of like 3-6 or so.”

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Warwick has become a Rhode Island economic success story. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses what the rest of us can learn from the state’s second-largest city.

One afternoon about 15 years ago, Lincoln Chafee and Scott Avedisian hiked up to the top of the parking garage at Green State Airport. As jets lifted off,  they looked at the huge swatches of undeveloped land nearby. Both quickly came to the same conclusion.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week, Dave and Mark talk with Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian about new developments going up in the state’s second largest city.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Three Confirmed Dead Following Train, Vehicle Collision

Jun 23, 2014

Authorities have confirmed that three people have died as a result of a train collision with a vehicle in Massachusetts.  There were reports earlier of two dead.

Authorities say two men and one woman were killed after a train struck their vehicle late Sunday night.

The Amtrak train was heading north from Washington D.C. when it hit the vehicle in Mansfield; a town about twenty miles between Providence and Boston. Authorities are still investigating what exactly caused the accident.  Craig Schultz, is a spokesman with Amtrak.

Storm Dumps Nearly A Foot Of Snow On Rhode Island

Jan 21, 2014
Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island is waking up under a blanket of snow, the second storm of the year. Forecasters said the storm dumped nearly a foot of snow on some parts of the state.

National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Dunham said some places got hit with almost a foot. “Heaviest snowfall so far has been over Providence County, said Dunham. “Leader of the pack right now is North Smithfield with eleven inches.”

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and Mark talk with Department of Transportation Director Michael Lewis. They not only discuss why ridership is light on the commuter rail line south of Providence. Director Lewis also talks about the federal highway trust that’s expected to run dry by next year. It’s the state’s only source of transportation funding.

Acela Route Through Rhode Island Hits the Brakes

Sep 26, 2013

Travelers relying on the Amtrak Acela train from Boston and Providence to New York will need to find another way to travel today.

A power failure is to blame for the cancelation, which might not be fixed for several weeks.

A cable line failure outside of New York City halted commuter trains and Acela traffic during rush hour yesterday afternoon.

Now the Boston to New York Acela route has been canceled, and may not run for the foreseeable future.

The regular Amtrak northeast regional service, is also affected by the problem/

file / RIPR

In a rare move, Amtrak has slowed down trains along the Northeast Corridor due to the heat. Amtrak trains travel at speeds reaching more than 100 mph, but on Thursday they’re going about 60mph.

Sensors along the track show rail temperatures at more than 120 degrees. And Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said those hot rails pose safety concerns. “They can under some rare circumstances expand. So the thought process behind any restriction in speed is to have the trains going at a lower than normal speed to make it less problematic in case there were an issue with the track,” said Cole.

Amtrak is spending the summer replacing old railroad ties along the Northeast Corridor. This replacement work is coming to the MBTA’s line in Rhode Island, and starting Friday it will affect six lines delivering passengers to Wickford Junction. This includes trains that will stop at Wickford, but not at TF Green airport, or trains that will end at the airport and not continue on to Wickford.

The disruptions will only be on Fridays starting this week and will end on Friday August 9th.

RI Commuters say They Feel Safe on Amtrak

May 22, 2013

Five days after the train derailment accident in Connecticut, Amtrak travelers at the Providence train station say they remain confident about train travel through Amtrak.  One traveler named Paul Murphy, who was headed to Washington DC, says he’s a veteran of train travel.