Department of Transportation

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The state Department of Transportation is negotiating a possible consent decree with the US Justice Department due to environmental damage caused by years of inadequately monitored runoff on highways around the state.

Rhode Island is getting one-million dollars to help repair the Park Avenue Bridge in Cranston.The bridge was closed for several weeks this summer.

The money will also help pay for the eventual replacement of the century old bridge. The span was shut for several weeks in June after inspectors deemed it structurally deficient.

Some wondered if the closure was politically motivated. The bridge is close to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s law office. The speaker didn’t push to take up a statehouse proposal for infrastructure repair last session.

Photo Courtesy of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

This morning Gov. Lincoln Chafee and a few members of the Rhode Island delegation toured a bridge project in Narragansett. The tour showcased important infrastructure repairs the state may have to delay.

  The Great Island Bridge is the only connection between the Port of Galilee in Narragansett and Great Island. It’s also an important part of the community’s emergency evacuation route.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Federal Highway Trust Fund is struggling to stay afloat in the face of dwindling funds and partisan gridlock in Washington.  That means the federal government will delay reimbursing Rhode Island and other states for transportation projects starting August 1st.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said states will face a 28 percent drop in federal funding for road repairs, maintenance, and infrastructure developments.  Foxx met with the Rhode Island congressional delegation to discuss the challenge, and didn't mince words when he spoke at the Statehouse.

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.

thisisbossi / Flickr

Triple A is out with a study that should be a wake-up call for those who drive while drowsy.  The problem of sleepy driving is more prevalent than you might realize.

A study on sleepy driving commissioned by Triple ‘A’ finds that 28 percent of motorists reported being so tired in the past month they had a hard time keeping their eyes open.  Motorists between the ages of 19 and 24 were the most likely to report driving drowsy.  Elderly motorists and those between the ages of 16 and 18 were least likely to drive drowsy.

Aaron Reed / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and the head of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation are planning to inspect an abandoned train tunnel in Providence to see how it could be used in the future. The tunnel was built in 1906 connecting the Seekonk River to the Providence River.

Gov. Chafee said he’d like to see if it could be opened and used for RIPTA buses. DOT director Michael Lewis said there are no firm plans for the old tunnel and the point of Thursday’s inspection is to see if it’s structurally sound.

thisisbossi / Flickr

Rhode Island has one of the highest rates of spending per mile on its roads and bridges. Yet a new report says our highway system is the second worst in the country.  The 20th annual Highway Report was published by the Reason Foundation, a Libertarian think tank.

Rhode Island’s roads and bridges are ranked 49th in the nation – with one being the best, according to the Reason Foundation.  Only Alaska has a worse highway system than the Ocean State, the group found.

Cliff Walk Repairs Draw Surfer Ire

Apr 10, 2013

The Newport City Council will be reviewing a plan at Wednesday's meeting to rebuild the famed Cliff Walk damaged last year by Superstorm Sandy. Many in the town are concerned about how a proposed plan could alter the ocean waves that give the historic Breakers mansion its name.