After years of discussion, area officials say the state Department of Transportation is expected to start work on drainage, road and other improvements on upper Aquidneck Avenue in the spring of 2022.
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UPPER AQUIDNECK AVENUE WORK ON THE WAY
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (DECEMBER 20, 2021) – Road work on upper Aquidneck Avenue is expected in the spring.
During a meeting Monday night in Town Hall, the Town Council heard the latest details from State Senator Louis P. DiPalma about the upcoming state effort, which includes new sidewalks, drainage and paving between East Main Road and Green End Avenue.
If all goes according to plan, DiPalma said construction by the state Department of Transportation was expected to begin in March or April.
Council President Paul M. Rodrigues stressed that in order for the project to be successful, the businesses in the area could not be adversely impacted. To minimize issues, DiPalma said he and the Town were pushing the concept of night work as much as possible to avoid disrupting traffic and normal hours of operation.
During the discussion, Rodrigues said heartfelt thanks were due to Councilwoman M. Theresa Santos, who birddogged the issue for years, particularly the safety of students walking along Aquidneck without sidewalks.
To commemorate the news, DiPalma also presented Santos a framed copy of the first page of the announcement about the project.
“Thank you for getting this done, Lou, we appreciate that, between you and Shawn, but the real credit goes to my fellow Councilor Mrs. Santos,” Rodrigues said. “She’s been on this since I’ve been on the council with her, almost from Day 1. So, your persistence is paying off.”
Rodrigues also thanked the state DOT for working with Middletown to get the project underway.
“The Town really started to form this partnership with the state to say ‘You know what, (the Town), you take the engineering on it and we can get this moved up a little quicker…” Rodrigues said. “This is something that’s coming to fruition, not just road improvements, but safety improvements. The safety of the kids of the walking on that road, walking on the sidewalks. I think this is fantastic.”
In coming weeks, Brown, DiPalma and other Town staff would be meeting with DOT staff to make sure everything was done properly and any issues would be minimized. A date for those discussions has not been set, but DiPalma and Brown assured the council they would be actively involved in the process.
“I’m glad I was able to assist,” DiPalma said. “This project has been a long time to bring to fruition.”