Letter: Chamber opposes DOT plan for Silver Creek closure

Posted 7/12/19

The following was sent to R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti as well as Gov. Gina Raimondo and municipal leaders in Barrington, Warren and Bristol.

The East Bay Chamber of …

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Letter: Chamber opposes DOT plan for Silver Creek closure

Posted

The following was sent to R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti as well as Gov. Gina Raimondo and municipal leaders in Barrington, Warren and Bristol.

The East Bay Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, representing nearly 300 member businesses throughout Bristol County and the immediate vicinity, is opposed to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s announced plan for the Route 114 Silver Creek Bridge Replacement Project in Bristol.

We know you and your team have spent considerable time examining this project and evaluating alternatives, and we understand the urgency to see this vital transportation link fortified for another 50 years, but we cannot accept that this is the only feasible solution.  We believe closing the bridge entirely, thereby eliminating the primary means of vehicular access to and from the highly congested downtown district, for up to two months, will have a detrimental impact on not only the businesses and residents of downtown Bristol, but on the wider communities of Bristol, Warren and even Barrington.

On a good day, the commercial operators and residents of Bristol County navigate frustratingly congested roadways. Closure of this bridge will make every day a bad day. We expect full closure would impact the entire transportation system in Bristol and Warren, with the potential for gridlock on the county’s other main artery (Route 136). If this grim picture becomes reality, the impact would be felt on all businesses, emergency services, commercial trucking and delivery operators, utility providers, commuters and all residents.

Yes, we are worried about our member’s businesses, but we are equally worried about the people who both live and work in a region that could grind to a halt for two months. We urge you, your team and your partners in municipal government to continue seeking alternatives to full closure of this roadway.  Whether it requires more study, more time or more resources, we believe the ONLY option is to keep vehicular traffic flowing through Route 114 at all times.

Thank you for your time. We hope RIDOT will find a way to do the right thing for Bristol County.

Mark G. Devine
Chairman, East Bay Chamber of Commerce

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