Letter: RIDOT always finds the money, except for East Main Rd.

Posted 9/16/19

To the editor:

East Main Road is a state highway. The responsible agency is RIDOT. In 1975 they presented their plans to upgrade it. I attended the presentation at Portsmouth Middle School. This …

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Letter: RIDOT always finds the money, except for East Main Rd.

Posted

To the editor:

East Main Road is a state highway. The responsible agency is RIDOT. In 1975 they presented their plans to upgrade it. I attended the presentation at Portsmouth Middle School. This was followed by all manner of surveying activity. 

In 1985, we were told we were second on the list. RIDOT is well known for its schedules and lists. The need probably goes back into the 1960s (a state employee told me the plans went back to 1965). 

About 10 years ago, government rolled out the Town Center (Town Hall to Cozy Corner) project, complete with roundabouts and $1 million of funding provided by Sen. Reed’s office for engineering. We were told construction would begin in two years. 

Ten-plus years ago, the State Police closed up shop and dumped the accidents onto the local police. That means that they don’t have to deal with a 150 accidents per year. Pretty smart of them if you ask me. Not so smart on Portsmouth’s part. 

During the Gov. Almond (administration), some bright eye found obscure language in the Bridge and Turnpike charter that allowed for the repaving of East Main Road. It got done. Metacom Avenue in Bristol has just been repaved (in part, and some sections did not need it). RIDOT found money to repair the collapsed Old Stone Bridge seawall in short order (I guess it was a safety hazard or they were halting further deterioration). They built a new garage and redid the north end of East Main — not exactly “on time,” (and) we do not know if it was “on budget.” Somehow, the money was found.

On top of this fiasco, the Portsmouth Town Council wants more planning and talk. We are past the stage of “whereas.” East Main Road is a state road. RIDOT loves local involvement. In fact, they have used this as a not-so-cleverly disguised tactic to shirk their responsibly. 

The Portsmouth Town Council is perhaps at a minimum well-intended, but certainly not a student of the situation. History teaches us that we fail to heed the lessons of history. Let the whereases roll.

Philip Driscoll

169 Immokolee Drive

Portsmouth

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