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NORTH KINGSTOWN â€“ Last year, Quonset was the recipient of $22.3 million worth of federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for major improvements to the Port of Davisville. The improvements have begun and continue to run on schedule.
By the time the improvements are completed, the port will increase in capacity, allowing for the staging for off-shore wind equipment and the handling of cargo for short sea shipping.
â€śEngineering and permitting work has been going on since the grant was finalized last October,â€ť said New Harbor Marketing Group representative Rhoades Alderson.
The first construction project was awarded in December and covers rail improvements within the Port area. Alder-son stated that work is progressing and is more than 75 percent complete.
One of the major projects is improvements to Pier 2 North which includes the addition of a port crane. Construc-tion will include two heavy lift platforms and a cathodic protection system to prevent corrosion of metal surfaces. This project has just been approved by the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and construction bids are due later this month.
Another significant project includes structural repairs to Pier 1 South where the planning stages for new lighting, new fender system and an under-deck and pile cap repairs are almost done. This project has also received CRMC approval and bidding for the construction phase has begun.
Other projects included in the grant are improvements to Terminals 4 and 5; improvements to Davisville Road and the extension of Tidal Drive and the railroad tracks.
All of the construction projects are expected to be complete within 12 months.
â€śEach of the TIGER projects has its own timetable that can always change due to factors like weather and supplier issues,â€ť added Alderson. â€śThe final piece will be the mobile harbor crane, which we anticipate will be in place by the end of next year.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m pleased with the pace of the progress on TIGER projects and with the work that our engineering firms, all based in Rhode Island, have delivered,â€ť said Steven J. King, P.E. Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) Manag-ing Director. â€śBy enabling the TIGER grant, Sen. Jack Reed and all of the Rhode Island congressional delegation have ensured that Quonset will continue to evolve as one of Rhode Islandâ€™s most valuable economic assets.â€ť
In addition to the improvements courtesy of the TIGER grants, it was recently announced that the United States Department of Transportation will provide the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) a $4.5 million grant to maintain the lines running from Providence to Quonset.
Congressman James Langevin strongly supports this grant because he feels they will ensure the best possible rail system for South County and help attract businesses to the Quonset area.
"I am pleased to see the continued development of South County Commuter Rail with the economic benefits it brings to the region," he said. "We must properly maintain the infrastructures we have in place and expand it for Rhode Island to best compete."