PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, members of the
Providence City Council, and Public Works Director Michael Borg joined
community members at the intersection of Gentian Avenue and Ravenswood Avenue, off
of Smith Street, to mark the beginning of citywide roadwork as part of the City
of Providence’s five-year capital improvement plan (CIP). Extensive roadwork
will take place across the City’s 15 wards and follow a comprehensive pavement
plan crafted after a thorough assessment of Providence roads.
“The citywide roadwork we are starting today will help
provide local families and businesses the safe, modern and reliable roads they
deserve,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “This is a needed long-term investment that
will help preserve our infrastructure, reduce maintenance costs and improve our
neighborhoods. From parents that drive their children to school, to businesses
that rely on ground transportation to succeed, these improvements will benefit
all of Providence.”
In July 2017, the Providence City Council’s Finance
Committee recommended passage of the City’s CIP to the full council, a
first-of-its-kind comprehensive plan that identifies and prioritizes planned
improvements to public infrastructure over five years to city streets,
sidewalks, public buildings, parks and recreation centers. The initial plan was
approved by the full Council on August 1, 2017.
“The Council is proud to have worked with Mayor Elorza and
his administration on this bold initiative,” said City Council President David
A. Salvatore. “Safe roadways are one of the biggest challenges we face as a
city, and this thoughtful and comprehensive plan addresses this need while
investing in our future infrastructure. As Council President, I hear from
constituents daily about the needs of our neighborhoods, and almost everyone I
speak with is concerned with the state of our city streets and job opportunity.
I believe that this investment will not only improve the quality of life for
all that live in Providence but will also help create new jobs, increase our
tax base, and make our City welcoming to new and existing businesses. Companies
thinking of expansion or relocation need to know that there is reliable
infrastructure and this plan assures that we are on the path to their success.”
The CIP is a working plan that is updated yearly and
submitted to the City Council. $48.5 million worth of infrastructure projects
funded by various mechanisms including a $45 million dollar infrastructure
bond, the city’s general fund, the master lease and the lighting master lease
were included in year one and two of the plan.
As part of the City’s long-term approach to maintain and
enhance public infrastructure, in October 2017 StreetScan was selected to
perform a city?wide road condition analysis. Using specialized
vehicles outfitted with an array of sensors including 2D and 3D cameras, data
was gathered for assessing road distresses and overall condition rating for
each road segment known as the Pavement Condition Index (PCI). PCI is an
American Society for Testing and Materials standard that ranges from 0 to 100,
where 0 is the worst possible road condition and 100 is the best.
At the time of completion of the scan, Providence’s Citywide
PCI was 71.6, falling into the good category (PCI 70-85). The proposed
paving plan would increase the PCI to 74.68, while failure to invest would
result in a PCI of 69.0.
Utilizing StreetScan’s assessment, a paving plan was
developed to focus work primarily on arterial and collector roadways, which
generally serve as the backbone of the roadway transportation network, carrying
the greatest amount of traffic and experiencing the greatest wear and tear. $20
million has been allocated toward roadway repairs in fiscal years ‘18 and ‘19,
resulting in an initial list of resurfacing recommendations based on traffic
volumes, PCI’s and estimated cost.
The list, crafted in collaboration with the City Council,
was revised to work around planned and ongoing utility projects, Rhode Island
Department of Transportation (RIDOT) projects, Rhode Island Public Transit
Authority (RIPTA) Downtown Transit Connector and other projects identified by
the Department of Planning and Development and Department of Public
Works. The DPW Highway Division also provided data on the roads where they
receive the most complaints and ultimately spend the most
Generally, road maintenance treatments should occur before a
road reaches a 70 PCI, which can extend the life of a roadway from 5?10
years. Once a road has degraded below a 70 PCI, a roadway is in need of
more robust rehabilitation, costing more with longer construction duration.
Neglecting to rehabilitate a roadway in the early stages of failure can lead to
greater cost as more intrusive procedures are needed, with longer construction
duration and greater disturbance to neighbors.
The paving list was developed to consider the roadway
network as a City?wide asset, to serve the greatest good to the City
as a whole. Consideration was then given to include roadway segments in
all wards, with proximity to other planned projects to further realize cost
savings. The plan was developed utilizing unit costs realized under
the $40 million bond program from 2013?2016.