The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is preparing to kick off a more than $90 million road paving plan this summer that will carry on through the end of 2018, while at the same time initiating the start of its highly-controversial truck-only tolling plan at two locations June 11, with more to follow over the next 18 months.
Where its road paving work is concerned, RIDOT said it will invest $80.8 million in 15 projects this, which include about 15 miles of multi-lane highways in the cities of Pawtucket, Warwick, South Kingstown and Portsmouth. On top of that, an additional $10 million will be spent on "pavement preservation" efforts on nearly 140 miles of roads in dozens of communities across the Ocean state, the agency said.
"Pavement preservation" is a catch-all term that includes crack sealing, chip sealing using a rubberized asphalt, and the use of a thin pavement overlay called paver placed elastomeric surface treatment, RIDOT noted.
As part of that $90 million-plus program, work is underway on $5 million evening and overnight-only construction project involving one mile of I-95 in Pawtucket, which will continue through the end of June, the agency said, while in mid-July, work will start on a different six-mile stretch of I-95 – a project worth $8.8 million – that will as lobe conducted during evening and overnight hours.
"[This] is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to rebuild our entire transportation infrastructure," noted RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr., in a statement. "This year we'll make a sizeable dent in repaving our roads."
The agency added that it is also scheduled to begin implementing its tractor-trailer-only all-electronic tolling system at two locations along I-95 in the southern part of the Ocean state starting on June 11, with the remaining tolling locations coming on line over the next 18 months.
That toll revenue is expected to provide a "reliable, dedicated source of revenue to fund the reconstruction of the bridges at those two sites," RIDOT said, with the toll for Location 1 set at $3.25 and the toll for Location 2 at $3.50. For tractor-trailers equipped with transponders such as E-ZPass, tolls will be limited to once per day, per direction, the agency added, and for tractor-trailers without a transponder, video detection systems will be used to generate an invoice for the registered owner of the vehicle.
RIDOT said its tolling contractor, Kapsch, "extensively tested" the tolling system this spring before it goes live, deciding that revenue collection can now begin with the contractor certifying that all systems are working properly.
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