Central Pike gets new guardrails, but Chippendale wants more

Central Pike gets new guardrails, but Chippendale wants more

A guardrail constructed in 1951 protecting motorists from entering the Barden Reservoir on Central Pike in Foster was rotten and lying on the ground, according to Rep. Michael Chippendale. He said the railing could not stop a bicycle.

FOSTER – The Central Pike in Foster is safer thanks to the efforts of Rep. Michael Chippendale, who said he saw the rotted guardrails by the Barden Reservoir and took action.

Made and installed in 1951, the old wooden guardrails were rotting and lying on the ground, according to Chippendale. In his words, the guardrails would not have been able to stop a bicycle from breaking through.

Chippendale said the guardrail was directly at the bottom of a hill, one of the steepest in Rhode Island. The Barden Reservoir, part of the Scituate Reservoir and Providence drinking water supply, is a few feet beyond the guardrail.

Being a watershed, the section of the roadway is a reduced salt area. Additionally, without pipe utilities, oil and propane trucks drive up and down the road daily. The rotting railing was a recipe for disaster, Chippendale said.

“If it slips and falls in, we ruined the water supply,” Chippendale said of passing trucks.

Central Pike is a state road, so Chippendale took his concerns to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, which had the guardrails slated for repair in 2020.

“As we reviewed it, we agreed it should be addressed sooner and were able to add it as part of an ongoing guardrail repair project,” said Charles St. Martin, RIDOT spokesman.

St. Martin said the project was completed for $25,000.

Chippendale said he was pleased that RIDOT took his concerns seriously, but said the state is generally neglecting roads in Foster and Glocester.

“My complaint is more that the priorities of the DOT are manipulated where more glamorous projects are getting more attention,” said the Republican.

Chippendale said during his rides to the Statehouse from Foster, he sees road construction in “Democratic” communities such as Johnston, Cranston and Providence, but does not see it in his Republican towns.

He said he has been championing for Reynolds Road in Glocester to be repaved since 2012, but with no success. The road runs from Route 44 in Glocester to Route 101 in Foster, and has “potholes so big they can swallow a mini-van,” Chippendale said.

He said he frequently receives complaints from his constituents about blown tires, popped hubcaps, spent rims and ruined alignments on cars from drivers on Reynolds Road.

Chippendale said Rhode Island is failing to be a good host state to the international company FM Global, which has an office on Reynolds Road. He said the road does not paint a good portrait of the state to visitors at the company.

St. Martin said funding for paving of Reynolds Road begins in 2022.

“(That) is not acceptable for this road. It is impacting the quality of life for people up there,” Chippendale said.

Within a week of bringing his concerns to RIDOT, Chippendale said a new guardrail was put in on Central Pike in Foster.