Diamond Hill Road roundabout project to begin in fall

Diamond Hill Road roundabout project to begin in fall

Despite earlier speculation of a spring start, mayor says the project is on "fast track"

CUMBERLAND – The state’s $5 million double-roundabout installation project on Diamond Hill Road will begin this fall with an aligning of the roads that form the Chapel Four Corners intersection, Mayor Bill Murray said this week, after a meeting with Department of Transportation officials.

This is the first bit of news about the project in six months, since Gov. Gina Raimondo dropped by to see the rush hour congestion for herself. There had been speculation at that time that shovels might be in the ground by spring.

Still, Murray said, he’s been assured the entire project is on a “fast track” that will see it all finished before the 2018 election season.

“I see a full commitment and awareness that we want this done soon,” said Murray.

Confirming Murray’s impression, DOT spokeswoman Lisbeth Pettengill told The Breeze the contract to correct the Diamond Hill Road-Bear Hill Road “choke point” will be going out to bid soon “so we can start work by the end of the year.”

Plans were shaping up but still not clear, Murray said, about how much land will be taken to create the added turning lanes at the Chapel Four Corners intersection.

The entire plan calls for adding a lane to Diamond Hill Road from Route 295 to the Chapel Four Corners intersection, better aligning Bear Hill and Angell roads to make the light changes faster, installing roundabouts at both Route 295 Exit 11 ramps, and reviewing the intersection at Industrial Road to consider a traffic light there, perhaps only during rush hours.

The DOT’s Pettengill said the roundabouts “are scheduled to go out to bid in 2018 and no date has been set yet.”

Last Friday’s meeting included several DOT officials, including Chief Civil Engineer Steve Pristawa, who came to Cumberland with reassurances that the project is not only on track but that the roundabouts will indeed to be able to accommodate the tractor-trailers, even tandem trailer trucks, pulling out of Industrial Road.

Murray expressed warm thanks to members of Cumberland’s Statehouse delegation who joined the meeting – Sen. Ryan Pearson and Reps. Jim McLaughlin and Alex Marszalkowski.

“There’s been a lot of effort from Senator Pearson and our two representatives,” said Murray. “Senator Pearson is pushing, and that’s why I have a lot of confidence.”

Said Murray, “It’s very clearly on a fast track to get done, especially because there are others who want it done in time for the election, including the governor.”

Comments

I'm going to make a bold prediction here and say that this project will be major clusterfart for the town and, in particular, the Chapel Four Corners businesses and residents...or whatever we should call this area after it is "reconfigured", as the "four corners" will not exist anymore. By the time this mess is cleaned up, I wonder how many will still be around? It doesn't surprise me that the "fast track" is directly related to the 2018 election, as this mentioned twice in the article, tells me that this is what is important to all interested parties that are "pushing" this through, rather than a successful outcome to the traffic issue. This smells bad already...business as usual in RI.

From the Post Office through Dave's, Dunkin, and Shell, there are way too many entrances and exit points. We've all sat through green light cycles where you don't move at all because of all of the turns. No one seems to know how to utilize the "brick" turn lane either. My point is, the traffic issues are not just from 295 to 4 corners, but on the south side on Rt. 114 too.

No matter what is done still going to get the funnel effect. I guess when Cumberland was getting developed and the so called traffic EXPERTS were testifying they were off by a car or two or three, or four or a hundred or so.

Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world.
The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works. The smaller size of properly designed modern roundabouts is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph (30 kph) range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low.
Safety is the #1 reason there are over 4,000 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way.

Modern, slow and go, roundabout intersections have less delay than a stop light or stop sign, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work (it’s the #2 reason). Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour, at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. At a modern roundabout drivers entering from different directions can all enter at the same time. Don’t try that with a signalized intersection.
Mythbusters http://tinyurl.com/mythbustersRAB

@ScottRAB - you are completely right, roundabouts are great - unless a couple of hundred feet away there is a light that ruins the good they do!! Its the four corners light that kills this whole idea. If you don't get rid of that, the traffic will back up into the proposed roundabout, and it won't matter. I don't understand how this isn't obvious to everyone.

The issue isn't whether the solution to the traffic problem is obvious to fix, as much as it the desire to get a bigger slice of the DOT pie being served. Oh, and don't forget the opportunity for a "YAY ME!" political occasion for every snake oil politician in the town, state, and DC. They'll all be showing up for a visit to take the credit. That stretch of road is being sacrificed for political gain and greed. I wouldn't be surprised if the traffic was even worse when they are done ripping everyone's front yard out and cutting down all the trees. The entire landscape will be destroyed and paved over...all in the name of "progress". I drive that stretch everyday at rush hour and I consider the traffic there a mere inconvenience compared to some of the real dangerous and congested roads that I'm regularly driving on.