A bill sponsored by Jamestown’s state senator would require coordination between two state agencies in order to update businesses on construction projects. The bill was passed by the legislature last week and now awaits Gov. Gina Raimondo’s signature.
Sen. Dawn Euer, a Democrat who represents Jamestown and Newport, introduced the measure in response to the Broadway project in Newport. That $5.8 million construction job caused restricted parking while temporarily turning a busy road into a one-way street.
“While we need better roads, we shouldn’t harm small businesses in the process,” she said.
The bill also mentions an upcoming project to realign the ramps to the Newport Pell Bridge, a major undertaking that could affect businesses for five years.
These projects stem from the 2016 RhodeWorks legislation, a statewide initiative to rehabilitate more than 650 bridges deemed below standards. The plan is to bring 90 percent of the state’s bridges into structural sufficiency by 2024.
Based on Euer’s legislation, the Department of Transportation would be responsible for identifying the specific impacts on businesses, such as road closings, bridge delays and parking restrictions. These updates, which should include project dates, must be submitted to the Rhode Island Commerce corporation at least two months in advance. The commerce corporation would then be required to assist business owners by providing strategic and marketing assistance during construction to cushion the economic impact.