It has been four weeks since the inaugural Broadway Street Fair, it has also been four weeks since crews have returned to Broadway to wrap up Newport’s version of “The Big Dig”.
Several business owners and residents pleaded with us this week to “please find out why no work has been done on Broadway in almost a month.” Some, including us, would argue that the time for no work to be done on Broadway would have been during the summer, not October. Especially since the City paid “extra” earlier this year to expedite the construction process.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated – “Broadway is a state road and that the project falls under RIDOT, not necessarily those services of the City of Newport”. Council McLaughlin has reminded us that Broadway is a city road, but “The state is overseeing this project because of the use of State TIP (Transportation Improvement Plan) funds.”
What’sUpNewp spoke with Representative Lauren Carson, Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, 2nd Ward Councilor Lynne Ceglie and 3rd Ward Councilor Kate Leonard about the issue and on Thursday we attended a Broadway Merchants Association meeting (FYI – they happen every Thursday at 2 p.m. at City Hall) and received an update from City Manager Joe Nicholson on the project.
Nicholson confirmed with us on Thursday and with WPRI on Friday that crews haven’t been working for the past four weeks, saying no one from the Department of Transportation or the Cardi Corporation has told him why.
“DOT and Cardi need to get it together. The city has been trying to get to the bottom of the issue. This is a contract issue and the City is not a party. We are extremely frustrated,” Councilor Ceglie shared with What’sUpNewp and Representative Carson.
While Nicholson said he has been told that crews would return on Monday, he also confirmed that earlier in the day he was considering options the city might have to pave the street before foul weather arrives, in the event that this situation goes on any longer.
Nicholson said getting Broadway repaved as soon as possible is his #1 priority, it’s essential that it gets done before the first snow storm.
In the event that crews don’t return on November 7th, Nicholson said the city would look at hiring a company to come in and get the stop done at city’s expense. He shared that the City would then go after whoever they needed to in order to be reimbursed for that cost.
Word on the street was that there was some sort of contract dispute or issue with payment between the State and Cardi Corporation, Nicholson didn’t think that was the case.
Mayor Napolitano also confirmed that they will be back on the job on Monday, November 7th. She also confirmed with us on Thursday after speaking with Senator Paiva-Weed that there was a dispute with the state and the contractor over another job, not Newport.
On Friday afternoon RIDOT released a statement saying they aim to finish construction by the end of the year.
“RIDOT is administering this city-funded project, and currently paving is delayed until the city provides updated information related to a change in a crosswalk design that they requested. The project is still on track for completion next spring, however RIDOT is working to complete this project for the City as quickly as possible and is working aggressively to finish by the end of the year.”
Cardi Corportation has not responded to our request for comment.
This story will be updated if more information is received.