SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The South Kingstown Town Council approved an application Monday for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to perform construction activities within 25 feet of a historic cemetery.
RIDOT is planning drainage improvements adjacent to the Old Fernwood Cemetery (Historic Cemetery 6), which is located on a nearly 3-acre lot on the northerly side of Route 138. The lot also contains the Nathaniel C. Peckham Lot (Historic Cemetery 5). The installation of these planned “water quality” best management practices is also within 25 feet of the New Fernwood Cemetery (Historic Cemetery 7), which consists of nearly 19 acres and is located on the south side for Route 138. Both cemeteries are located just west of the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston Campus at the base of Kingston Hill.
Vincent Murray, South Kingstown’s director of planning, told the council that the project is part of the state’s Route 138 reconstruction project, extending along Route 138 from Route 2 to Route 108. He said the project is the first major RIDOT project that will incorporate phase II storm water management regulatory techniques. These techniques use natural-based infiltration and management of storm flow, utilizing swales, which is a low tract of land, often designed to manage water runoff, and bio-retention areas over “hard piped” structures traditionally used in the industry.
“This is the first major project that the state is undertaking under these regulations,” Murray said. “So it’s a bit of a pioneer in that regard.”