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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

RIDOT plans two-phase improvement for Providence Train Station

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The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is planning a two-part improvement for the Providence Train Station. It's a stop that has more than one million Amtrak and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter rail passengers who use it annually.
To date, RIDOT has identified $1 million for the first part of the project, anticipated to cost between $5 and $6 million.

"The first phase will include short-term infrastructure repair and aesthetic improvements," said RIDOT Director Michael Lewis. "We'll focus on reconstructing the plaza on the downtown side of the train station to help improve bus and pedestrian connections from downtown Providence and Kennedy Plaza. And we'll improve the access and visibility on the Francis Street side of the station."

RIDOT is also proposing to repair the concrete and limestone damaged areas, improve pedestrian and Americans with Disabilities Act access and enhance vehicular circulation. The project also includes a bus drop off area on Gaspee Street, as well as additional bike racks to accommodate the growing bicycle usage. RIDOT is also looking at adding improved signage.

The preliminary engineering and environmental review for phase two of the project is being funded with $3 million from the Federal Railroad Administration's High Speed Rail Program. The FRA funds will help RIDOT analyze long-term high-speed rail improvements, including modifications to the Providence Station Tunnel that will provide better movement between freight and passenger trains as well as improved pedestrian access.

RIDOT will also be evaluating new access points to the Station, as well as additional parking facilities. Construction for these long-term projects is dependent upon future federal high-speed rail funding.

It is anticipated that construction for the first phase of the project could be underway in Spring 2013.