Richmond councilors increase questions on state freeway initiatives | News

RICHMOND — Members of the Richmond Town Council continued to ask questions this week about two main initiatives that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation plans to start constructing this yr. One will contain the reconfiguration of Richmond exit ramps off Interstate 95 and the second is the development of a roundabout at Route 138.

Town Administrator Karen Pinch supplied an replace on the brand new I-95 interchange after council members requested whether or not the state had carried out a research to find out what impacts the brand new visitors sample might need at Exit 3.

“They have done what they call an interchange modification” study, Pinch said Wednesday. “The goal of that, they said, is to look at the safety and the traffic operations at that interchange and they concluded from that that this would improve safety, partially because the way those on and off-ramps are now, you have what they call weaving … They also are widening, so that there is a merge lane for people getting onto 138.”

Pinch added that the DOT had asked for the 2019 and 2020 dates of the Washington County Fair, so lane closures during construction could be avoided during those busy times.

The council also discussed the new roundabout, which will be built at the intersection of Route 138 and Carolina Nooseneck Road. As part of the project, which the DOT expects will improve safety at the challenging intersection, Richmond Townhouse Road between Routes 112 and 138 will be converted to a one-way eastbound. Construction is expected to begin this summer and cost $2.1 million.

Councilor Ronald Newman said he was concerned that the roundabout might cause traffic congestion.

“I’ve always been concerned, if that backs up,” he said. “If that comes in on Route 138 West and goes over the hill, we’re going to have a problem, right?”

Chief of Police Elwood Johnson suggested the council contact the DOT and perhaps meet with representatives to get answers to their questions.

In other business, the council also passed two resolutions affecting town employees. The first involves mandating state temporary disability insurance, or TDI, for some town employees and the second pertains to time off during the holidays.

The TDI resolution, which will not affect part-time or seasonal employees, is the result of a survey Pinch conducted.

“We did take a poll of the employees and they overwhelmingly wanted to be a part of TDI,” Pinch said. “It won’t cost the town any money.” 

Also approved by the council was a resolution giving employees the entire day off on Christmas Eve and half a day on New Year’s Eve. Employees previously worked the morning of Christmas Eve and the entire day on New Year’s Eve.

“We are aware that other towns have all of Christmas Eve off or all of New Year’s Eve off,” Pinch stated. “We found that there is very little business conducted here on those days and I thought it would be a nice perk for our staff to not have to come in.”

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