DOT unveils designs for roundabouts, Chapel Four Corners

DOT unveils designs for roundabouts, Chapel Four Corners

Plans for new roundabouts show two lanes of traffic coming off Rte. 295 north, at left, with traffic in the right lane designed to continue down Diamond Hill Road to Chapel Four Corners and vehicles in the left lane also bearing right but going around the roundabout.
2,800 square feet to be taken by eminent domain

CUMBERLAND – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has released design plans for two new roundabouts on Diamond Hill Road at Route 295’s Exit 22, as well as schematics for the realignment of the nearby Chapel Four Corners intersection.

The entire project, covering three intersections along Route 114/Diamond Hill Road, is now tabbed at approximately $6.6 million, said Charles St. Martin, spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. RIDOT officials view roundabouts as a way to alleviate traffic backups and reduce the number of severe accidents.

A contractor will be chosen in March, said St. Martin, and a notice to proceed with work is expected in June, putting the project on schedule. Even before that notice is issued, residents should start seeing utility work begin, including moving telephone poles back from the road to their final resting spots, he said.

All work is now projected to be done by September of 2019, meaning Cumberland residents should prepare for more than a year of traffic issues in the area. Also planned to start this year is a water line replacement and repaving project from the Exit 22 roundabouts (former Exit 11) to Nate Whipple Highway, a distance of a little more than two miles.

The Chapel Four Corners plans show minimal changes to the configuration, but RIDOT officials say the changes will lead to better flow of traffic. The Chapel intersection will be done first, followed by construction of the two roundabouts.

According to a list of planned eminent domain acquisitions provided this week in response to a request from The Breeze, RIDOT is planning to take a combined 2,800 square feet of land from seven properties in the vicinity of the project.

Plans show a small amount of land being taken from the Shell gas station and CVS properties at the entrance to Bear Hill Road, but no property will be taken from the Four Corners Community Chapel property across from CVS, said St. Martin.

The following are the “small slivers of land” RIDOT is seeking to take by eminent domain, said St. Martin.

• 2,040 square feet from the Okonite Company, owner of the Okonite manufacturing facility at 5 Industrial Road.

• 207 square feet from Colbea Enterprises LLC, owner of the Shell/Seasons Corner Market at 2095 Diamond Hill Road.

• 26 square feet from 2200 Associates, owner of the Beauty Bar building at 2200 Diamond Hill Road.

• 13 square feet from Susan Bailey Santare, owner of the Cumberland Dental building at 2300 Diamond Hill Road.

• 189 square feet from the Priscilla C. Sankey Irrevocable Trust, owner of a home at 2 Broadview Ave., across from Okonite.

• 220 square feet from JAK Realty LLC, owner of a medical building at 2295 Diamond Hill Road.

• And 105 square feet from WEC 99J-73 LLC#2506-01, owner of CVS, at 2125 Diamond Hill Road.

Another 11 parcels in the area will be impacted by the project, but only by temporary easements for drainage work and other purposes, and no property acquisitions, said St. Martin. It is not unusual for the state to require various property acquisitions and easements to accommodate an intersection reconstruction project of this magnitude, he said.

According to the RIDOT spokesman, no buildings or businesses will be taken through the eminent domain process, which allows the state to purchase parcels of property to complete projects for the public good.

Though the state isn’t currently planning to take any property from the Four Corners Community Chapel property, St. Martin said it looks as if the state will need two small temporary easements on the property during construction. As with the dentist office on the other side of Route 295, RIDOT is planning to install a new sidewalk, he said. The easement will allow RIDOT to enter those two properties to access certain areas. The total easement area for the church property is only about 150 square feet, or 10 feet by 15 feet, he said.

In the case of the dental office, compensation will be offered to allow access to the parking lot from the side street instead of Diamond Hill Road directly for safety reasons. The net effect will be two fewer parking spaces at the building, said St. Martin.

“The amount of compensation will include the 13-square-foot acquisition, the easements, the loss of parking spaces and costs necessary to sealcoat and restripe the parking lot,” he said.

RIDOT officials say a slight reconfiguration of the Chapel Four Corners intersection will lead to better traffic flow. The project is part of the Diamond Hill Road/Rte. 295 roundabout project. Diamond Hill Road, shown leading from Rte. 295 at right, will have two lanes heading away from the highway.

Comments

Can we have some reassurance that this won't be a disaster?

My husband, Dr. Anthony Santare, DDS, and I met with Colleen Kerr of RIDOT on January 24. RIDOT maintained that their rationale for changing the entrance/exit to his office was safety. In his twenty three years practicing at that location, there have been no accidents resulting from people entering or leaving the lot. It is clear that people exiting the lot onto Broadview Ave. is potentially far more dangerous. People turning right from Diamond Hill Rd. onto Broadview will have little time to react if a car has left the parking lot to cross Broadview so they can turn onto Diamond Hill Rd. If a truck is parked in the side lot, it will block a driver’s view of any cars parked on the side and those leaving the side lot.

Every other commercial property on Diamond Hill Rd. has access to and from Diamond Hill Rd. We were told this would eliminate the need for people to back out onto Diamond Hill Rd. No one backs out of any parking lot onto Diamond Hill Rd. Why is it a safety issue for this building and not for the others?

The loss of parking spaces will result in patients, staff and the two residents having to park on Broadview. Already, people park on Broadview when the lots are full. We requested a copy of the RIDOT parking plan but haven’t received one. In order to have people enter and exit the parking lot via Broadview, a minimum of two spaces in the front lot and two spaces on the side lot will be lost.

Our final concern is the temporary easement given to RIDOT to run pipes under the lot and the repaving and repainting of the lots. Clearly, no one will be able to park there while this work is going on. The entrance to the office is off the front lot. No one willl be able to access the office during this construction. We have not been given any indication as to the scope and duration of the project. Dentistry often requires patients to schedule multiple appointments for a procedure. If access to the building is not available, patients will have to wait to begin such procedures. That means that well in advance of the construction, Dr. Santare will have to stop performing many dental procedures. He will be unable to treat emergencies as well.

We still have many concerns that have not been addressed. It is our hope that RIDOT keeps lines of communication open so that these problems can be solved.

Susan Bailey Santare
Dr. Anthony M. Santare, DDS

Are they adding a sidewalk along Diamond Hill from 4 corners to Nate Whipple?

So say the rotaries work out well (and I've seen a few in RI that have helped quite a bit) we will still back up to I-295 because the light at Chapel 4 corners will still be a bottleneck.

Sidewalks, still a gap between the Monastery and the US Post Office. Makes no sense at all. Kids walking on the street in the dark in the a.m. Tie into the sidewalks that exist from the Monastery south. Come on RIDOT, let's be logical. (and same to run sidewalks north to Nate Whipple. Not safe to walk along Diamond Hill Rd.

I hope they do a better job on theses compared to the one they built @ rt's 102 & 44 . The road is so small that when I go through there with the straight job truck that I drive the left rear tires rub the cub as well as the right from tires! Whom ever is designing this things has clearly NEVER driven a truck ! This State is so ANTI TRUCKING it's not funny !!!!!

Anyone who was not born yesterday knows right well that if the DOT schedule is officially calling for a year's worth of work, then we can expect that it will take longer. I'm guessing that many locals are already planning on avoiding that stretch of road all together, like I am, until the work is done. That doesn't bode well for the many businesses that will suffer due to the reduced traffic. And what about the people who work and do business in the industrial park? Has the DOT and their conspirators considered the impact on the local businesses that their proposed improvements will have? I'm guessing that after the money grab has been finished, so will be any further interest in the town of Cumberland. I suspect that many locals like myself realize that this project will change the face of our town forever. Chapel Four Corners will cease to exist as it has looked forever. Some call it "progress", but many that have grown up here are sad to see our rural town being transformed into a place that we have done our best to avoid for most of our lives. Maybe I'm just getting older, but, as the years pass, Cumberland is becoming more and more like a modern city and I, for one, am not a fan. It's times like these that I wish I weren't stuck in the valley.

Anyone who was not born yesterday knows right well that if the DOT schedule is officially calling for a year's worth of work, then we can expect that it will take longer. I'm guessing that many locals are already planning on avoiding that stretch of road all together, like I am, until the work is done. That doesn't bode well for the many businesses that will suffer due to the reduced traffic. And what about the people who work and do business in the industrial park? Has the DOT and their conspirators considered the impact on the local businesses that their proposed improvements will have? I'm guessing that after the money grab has been finished, so will be any further interest in the town of Cumberland. I suspect that many locals like myself realize that this project will change the face of our town forever. Chapel Four Corners will cease to exist as it has looked forever. Some call it "progress", but many that have grown up here are sad to see our rural town being transformed into a place that we have done our best to avoid for most of our lives. Maybe I'm just getting older, but, as the years pass, Cumberland is becoming more and more like a modern city and I, for one, am not a fan. It's times like these that I wish I weren't stuck in the valley.

People using the road make mistakes (like running stop signs and red lights), always have and always will. Crashes will always be with us, but they need not result in fatalities or serious injury.

Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world - the intersection type with the lowest risk of fatal or serious injury crashes - (much more so than comparable signals). Modern roundabouts require a change in speed and alter the geometry of one of the most dangerous parts of the system - intersections. The reduction in speed and sideswipe geometry mean that, more often than not, when a crash does happen at a modern roundabout, you usually need a tow truck, not an ambulance. Roundabouts are one of nine proven road safety features (FHWA).
The life saved may be your own.