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A Hummel Report Investigation

Year-End Update

As we get ready to put 2016 in the rearview mirror, Jim Hummel has new information on a handful of our investigations: from mixed reaction to the completion of a high-profile state road project and repairs on another; to a much-needed infusion of funds for one community with several rapidly-deteriorating school buildings.


As we get ready to put this year in the rearview mirror there is new information on some of our investigations in 2016 - beginning with the completion of a high-profile road project that has brought mixed reaction.
The $71 million Apponaug Circulator project in Warwick began back in 2014 with the goal of realigning a series of historically problematic intersections.
Last month the state Department of Transportation unveiled a totally new traffic pattern that includes four rotaries spread out at strategic points across the circulator - which traffic engineers say dramatically reduces accidents at what previously were four-way intersections.
But we’ve heard from some motorists who say it has been a rocky transition - as drivers get used to who is supposed to yield to whom, despite multiple signs in the rotaries - which used to more common in Rhode Island decades ago, but are foreign to a new generation of drivers.
We will keep an eye on the circulator in the coming weeks and bring you an update sometime in 2017.
It has been years - some might say decades in the making, but the North Providence school system is getting a much-needed infusion of funds to upgrade its deteriorating buildings, after voters last month passed a $75 million bond.
The video really tells this story: century-old elementary schools in North Providence that in some cases are literally beyond repair. We outlined the extent of the problem throughout town in our story from the fall of 2015.
Voters last month agreed with school officials that something has to be done, voting by a 77 percent margin to approved a $75 million bond that will pay for two new elementary schools and fund upgrades to eight other buildings across the town .
Smith: ``We are absolutely thrilled and now the hard work begins.’’
Superintendent Melinda Smith says students will be moving out of the Stephen Olney and Maguire Elementary schools at the end of the school year when the buildings will be demolished.
Smith: ``We’re going to begin meeting with our construction manager and our architect;   we’re going to develop a comprehensive timeline, we need to stick to that timeline,  because we have students moving out of two schools going to swing space, at St. Pat’s in town and then we are leasing space in Johnston at Calef Elementary school.’’
The schedule calls for them to move back into brand new schools adjacent to their old ones, in April of 2019.
Hummel: ``What do you say to the 23 percent who didn’t vote for it?’’

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