A Hummel Report Investigation
After we sent pictures of what we’d found to D.O.T., Director Peter Alviti pledged to replace all of the boxes the state had installed on 116, and Managing Engineer Robert Roccio said the department needed to revaluate the design - which was meant to be safer in case drivers ran into the boxes.
D.O.T. last week said it expects to have the 150 replacement mailboxes installed by the end of August. Alviti told us he plans to personally visit Polseno to apologize when the new mailboxes are ready to be installed.
Another D.O.T. project was brought to our attention last fall: the high-profile reconstruction of the Apponaug Circulator. One Warwick resident told us the state has been ignoring its own construction codes. And, he says, not much has changed over the past six months, even though he’s repeatedly to complain.
The Apponaug Project is still ahead of schedule and when it’s complete will significantly change the traffic pattern in one of the state’s more congested - and confusing - areas.
Last fall we spoke with Rob Cote, a Warwick resident who works as a construction inspector and travels through the Apponaug Circulator up to half a dozen times a day. Cote pointed out what he said was improper compaction and a lack of required dust mitigation, confirmed in construction reports that we reviewed as part of our investigation.
Cote has regularly sent us pictures this spring showing the conditions for motorists making their way through Apponaug and what he says is improper fill going in under newly-laid sidewalks. D.O.T. Director Peter Alviti says he is meeting to his staff to address Cote’s latest round of complaints.
Rhode Island’s largest wind power project is slowly taking shape as nearly a dozen turbines are ready to go online this summer- including three that willl begin generating power for the town of West Warwick. But the project’s developer ran into some controversy at the end of the General Assembly session.
The turbines arrived at Quonset Point in May, coming overseas from Germany. All but one would be heading to western Coventry, where the North Kingstown Company Wind Energy Development had been preparing sites much of the year.
Over the course of two weeks, aided by a team from the German manufacturer Vensys, the turbines went up and include three the town of West Warwick has bought and expects to begin providing all of the town government’s electrical needs this summer.
Wind Energy Development’s owner, Mark DePasquale, was in the news earlier this month when The Providence Journal reported a bill surfaced late in the session that would have forced ratepayers to pick up the $12 million connection costs that the company has spent for infrastructure to hook up the turbines. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello pulled the bill because of the controversy.
We will have more on that - and hear from DePasquale directly - in a story next month.
It has been a busy first six months for us and we already have a number of investigations in the pipeline for the second half of 2016. And remember, if you have a story idea you want us to check out email me directly at Jim@HummelReport.org.