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By LINDSAY OLIVIER
NORTH KINGSTOWN â€“ If you were among the motorists who frequented Route 2 from the Route 4 interchange in East Greenwich this past week, and had to drive through the restriping process by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), youâ€™ll be happy to know the project is meant to enhance better and safer driving.
By the end of this week, the 2.2 mile section of Route 2 (South County Trail/Quaker Lane) from the Route 4 interchange in East Greenwich (park and ride) to the intersection with Route 102 (Ten Rod Road) in North Kingstown, will have been restriped down to three lanes.
The original section of road had two travel lanes in both directions, with narrow shoulders and no center turning lane. The new layout will be three lanes; one lane for travel in both directions, a center turning lane and wider shoulders.
In the early 1980s, this stretch of roadway was busier than it currently is, because, at the time, Route 4 ended where the park and ride is currently located and motorists had no choice exiting the highway than to travel on Route 2. Now that Route 4 has extended beyond that point, traffic is much less on Route 2 and this change shouldnâ€™t cause a problem, according to Charles St. Martin of the RIDOT.
â€śThe restriping to three lanes is being done on a trial basis to assess its suitability,â€ť he said. â€śOnce it is over, DOT officials will work with the community to determine whether to leave the road as is or return it to its original four-lane configuration.â€ť
If the trial is seen as a positive change, then the $2.9 million project would continue and include resurfacing the road and improving drainage. The whole project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Another reason for the new configuration is the addition of the Route 403, which has re-directed traffic off the former busy section of Route 2. RIDOT now believes the four-lane model is â€śno longer necessaryâ€ť and a lane reduction can be â€śimplemented without causing congestion.â€ť
Other RIDOT restriping projects in the area have proved positive. In 1994, Route 1A (Boston Neck Road) from Wickford Village to Route 138 was restriped from four lanes down to two lanes.
In 1998, the same reduction was done along a section of Route 2 in East Greenwich from Division Street to the Stanley-Bostitch facility.
RIDOT will be working with the town on feedback.
If you have concerns, comments or questions, call the North Kingstown Town Hall at 294-3331.