SMITHFIELD – Future expansion of Routes 116 and 7 in Smithfield’s economic growth overlay district will be studied thanks to a $35,400 site readiness grant from Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.

Town Engineer Kevin Cleary said the project will look at the efficiency of improvements already made to the system, as well as strategies for expansion to the Stillwater Interceptor “sewer shed.”

The task order for the engineering and construction company, CDM-Smith, will include modeling of the Stillwater Interceptor within the EGO district. The bulk of the work entails a flow and hydraulic model recalibration to properly model existing flows, Cleary said.

Located at the intersection of Stillwater Road, Thurbers Boulevard and Capron Road, the Stillwater Interceptor is a bottleneck of sewering in the 730-acre economic growth overlay district.

“This modeling effort will help capture better information so that we can pan out a full engineering design and construction improvements to facilitate upgraded capacity models,” Cleary said.

The Town Council approved a zoning change to the district in 2015 to encourage growth to the Routes 116 and 7 corridor near the Lincoln town line and Route 295 with the goal to revitalize land by opening a growth center. The zone change allowed for a variety of uses, including multi-and single-family homes, daycare centers, life care and nursing facilities, hotels, performance theaters, restaurants and more.

After zoning the district, the town learned it may not have adequate infrastructure to support the proposed growth, and worked with RICC and the state for several studies for sewer and water infrastructure improvements in the area.

“This project has been quite a couple of years in the making with the push of the town planner and town manager,” Cleary said.

He said that as a bonus, Town Planner Michael Phillips allocated funding for the project through site readiness grants.

Cleary said work was done 12 years ago in the EGO district on sewer and water infrastructure, which has seen increased development in the collection area. CDM-Smith will also evaluate the effectiveness of those efforts.

Cleary said the study indicated high-flow scenarios where potential surcharging conditions could occur along the sewage pipelines.

“It’s important to model and get more information to expand and engineer design and later do land survey work to drive the design and present a construction project that will include construction projects of this pipeline and service our future need of this growth corridor,” Cleary said.

Responding to questions during the Nov. 15 Town Council meeting, Cleary said the system is gravity-based, except for the area near Rubius Therapeutics and Bryant University. He said discharge is pumped from the area to the intersection at Routes 116 and 7, and gravity draws it down to the trunk line, where it traverses down the old rail bed along the banks of the Woonasquatucket River.

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