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Letter: East Main Road has been neglected for far too long

Posted 11/30/20

To the editor:

Now that the election has concluded, we can once again visit the situation of our local highways without the noise of the campaigns. In 1975 at the Portsmouth Middle School, (the …

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Please support local news coverage –

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Letter: East Main Road has been neglected for far too long

Posted

To the editor:

Now that the election has concluded, we can once again visit the situation of our local highways without the noise of the campaigns. In 1975 at the Portsmouth Middle School, (the R.I Department of Transportation) told us of their plans for East Main Road. Work was to begin shortly. That was 45 years ago. 

In 2003, RIDOT unveiled plans for the Town Center complete with roundabouts. That was 17 years ago. 

In 2009, Senator Reed came up with $950,000 “to assist with the project.”That was 11 years ago. 

Apparently, these project are being allowed to ripen on the vine to enhance their flavor. Contrast this inaction or ripening process to the speed with which tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge was expedited by RIDOT through the legislature. Another example of legislature efficiency (Portsmouth legislators were in on this deal) was legislature approval (2007) for sewers in Northeast Portsmouth to the tune of $145 million. Or take the immediate repair of the collapsed seawall at Stone Bridge. RIDOT does know how to move expeditiously when they want to.

Contrast this with the recent improvements to Green Lane in Middletown or the work on Coddington Highway in the same town! How long were these projects on the drawing board? The addition of a bike lane is certainly welcome. 

Nonetheless, I must contrast this with the needs of East Main Road. Or, in case you haven’t noticed, please take time to note the Portsmouth High School students walking on the shoulders of Sprague Street as they leave school at 2 p.m. each school day. Please notice I said shoulders, not sidewalks. 

There was a lot of talk in the last election about these problems, which have been going on for years. As a registered Democrat, who else are we to blame but the Democrat talkers? It’s up to the Portsmouth Town Council and the legislature delegation to get moving. Perhaps they could also get the State Police to begin to patrol local but state-owned highways.

Philip Driscoll

169 Immokolee Drive

Portsmouth

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.