It will be at least another few days before transportation officials re-open Poppasquash Road to traffic.
Initially, state officials said the road — it was damaged during Hurricane Sandy in late October — would be open in mid-February. Then they pushed the date to early March. And now, after a series of weather-related delays, folks at the Rhode Island Department of Transportation are aiming for an April 5 completion date.
“We never anticipated the 20-something inches of snow from that blizzard,” said Frank Corrao, project supervisor for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.
“We didn’t anticipate the storm that happened a week after that. … It put the workers behind schedule.”
Mr. Corrao said both culverts that were replaced as part of the project are finished, and that workers were scheduled to pour the concrete walls that sit atop the culverts.
“That should be done by the end of this week. Then we have to tie in the adjacent stone walls. They need to take whatever’s left and tie it in with the concrete,” he said.
“By the end of next week (March 29) crews should be finishing up the concrete and stone masonry walls on either side of the approaches. All of this is weather dependent.”
Poppasquash Road residents may be developing a love-hate relationship with Mother Nature this winter.
While residents have had to deal with construction delays because of the hard-hitting winter weather, the road construction project as a whole benefited from a different storm.
Mr. Corrao said the Poppasquash Road work had been on the DOT’s list on anticipated jobs, but funding was not available for the project. That changed when Hurricane Sandy slammed ashore in late October. The storm-related damage qualified for federal disaster aid, fast-tracking the road project.
“It wasn’t going to happen in very near future,” Mr. Corrao said. “As a result of the storm, we were able to secure funding.”
Mr. Corrao said the residents and businesses impacted by the construction delays on Poppasquash Road have been “very patient.” He said the department did receive a few phone calls, but state officials have made every effort to make special accommodations whenever it is possible.
As for the delay, Mr. Corrao said DOT officials and representatives from the contractor will sit down and discuss the details once the work is completed.
“The fact that we did not meet completion date is something we will review,” Mr. Corrao said.
The project is being completed by Cardi Corp. at a total anticipated cost of $1,695,000 — the company is replacing the bridge along Poppasquash, paving the road and replacing the stone wall.