New Exit 10 ramps may not open until August

New Exit 10 ramps may not open until August

The new exit ramps off Rte. 295 at Greenville Avenue, in Johnston, may not open for another month. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Though a Citizens Bank representative indicated a month ago that new exit ramps off Route 295 at Greenville Avenue were on target to be completed by June 27, officials are now saying they might not open to traffic for another month or more.

Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena told The Breeze he’s hoping to have the exits open two weeks from now, but said that timeframe is very much up in the air.

Liz Pettengill, spokeswoman with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, said officials there expect that all requirements will be completed in late July or early August, though that schedule is subject to change.

The town of Johnston may open the ramps if officials there wish, said Pettengill. The role of RIDOT is to ensure that all requirements of a public access permit are met and to ensure that the construction of the ramps meets all requirements set forth by the Federal Highway Administration.

Johnston should not reopen the ramps until all requirements of the public access permit are certified, but that doesn’t mean that the town couldn’t do so, said Pettengill.

The exits, which will be numbered Exit 10 for both Route 295 north and south drivers when the black coverings come off the signs, are being paid for through $3 million from the state and another $3 million from Citizens Bank, which is nearing completion on its new corporate campus just off the highway. The opening of the new exits is expected to have a significant impact on local traffic patterns.

Residents along Greenville Avenue have had a much smoother ride of late, after repaving was done as part of the final phase of a Narragansett Bay Commission pipe project, which coincides with the addition of the corporate campus.

Representatives for Citizens Bank couldn’t be reached for comment this week.

Polisena said these are the first exit ramps “I’ve ever owned,” and he doesn’t intend on the town accepting them until a “punch list” of items is complete. “As soon as the punch list is done, we’ll take it from Citizens and then give it to the state,” he said.

Among the items still remaining to be done early this week were the installation of chatter strips along the edge of the road and the painting of new lines, said Polisena.

In a way, he said, the town is “being held hostage” by some last items still not being done, but he said he won’t take the exits and then be forced to try to have issues corrected later. The state must first sign off that everything’s completed, he said.

Pettengill said that since RIDOT is not the entity responsible for completing all certifications, but rather the one making sure everything is completed, “we are not in a position to issue completion dates.”