New DMV to open Monday

New DMV to open Monday

A new DMV branch in Woonsocket Plaza on Diamond Hill Road is set to open on Monday, replacing the Pond Street location. (Breeze photo by Lauren Clem)

WOONSOCKET – It’s official. After several years of talk, including more than five months of waiting after the original projected opening date, the new Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles office will open in Woonsocket Plaza on Monday, replacing the Pond Street location for good.

According to an announcement from the State Department of Revenue, the Pond Street branch will close early this Friday, Jan. 11, to accommodate the move to the new location, which will begin operations on Monday, Jan. 14. The new location, according to the announcement, will have the same hours as the previous branch: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

According to Paul Grimaldi, spokesperson for the Department of Revenue, renovations are complete on the new office, which is located in a storefront once occupied by a McDonald’s in a corner of the Diamond Hill Road plaza. The old office, he said, is expected to close around noon this Friday to allow state employees time to move equipment into the new space.

“I would encourage people if they need to do something in Woonsocket on Friday to do it in the morning,” he said. “The state maintenance people will come in and start moving the computers or filing cabinets or whatever else they need with a plan to open Monday morning in the new location.”

The move to a new location has been on the books for years as state officials seek to answer complaints of long wait times and limited accessibility at the old space. According to Grimaldi, the Woonsocket branch is the division’s second busiest office after the Cranston headquarters and handles 10 percent of all DMV transactions in the state. The new office, he said, will have three additional customer service desks compared with the current location – a total of eight – and the possibility of more customer service representatives after the state completes a hiring wave of about two dozen additional DMV employees across all offices this year. That’s good, because Grimaldi expects the plaza’s dedicated parking and easy accessibility will draw even more customers to the new location, a trend that could boost foot traffic to the surrounding businesses.

“The space is laid out better for our purposes than the old space was,” he said. “Here, everything’s new and the space is exactly the way we wanted it and the flow is exactly the way we wanted it. We do expect over time as people figure it out that more people will start going there.”

The months leading up to the opening were not an easy process. Last summer, an anticipated August opening date was pushed back indefinitely after a dispute over payment between the parties involved with renovations created delays. That dispute appears to continue even as the state gets ready to open the new office.

Earlier this week, Andrew Verdo of AV Drywall, one of the subcontractors hired to do work on the site, contacted The Breeze to say he was still awaiting payment from either Integral Real Estate Solutions, the primary contractor, or Signature Acquisitions, the management company that oversees the plaza. Verdo had told The Breeze in September that about a third of the payment for work completed on the site last spring was never sent.

While the dispute has affected several local companies, it has limited impact on the state’s ability to move forward with plans for the leased building now that renovations are complete. For customers, that’s good news, as a long-awaited improvement to a nearby state office gets ready to open its doors.

Comments

A new office will not change the way they do business . The DMV is their own worst enemy ! They create 99% of the problems . Red tape and slow workers make for very long lines ! It will never change !