DEM hopes that the new three-lane entryway will ease traffic congestion at the popular South Kingstown beach, which hosted an estimated 170,000 beach goers in each of the past two summers.

East Matunuck State Beach will close for about a two-week stretch starting Monday, April 3, to allow crews to wrap up a construction project that added a third lane to the entrance and strengthened stormwater controls, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced today.

The temporary closure will enable the contractor to pave and stripe the parking lot and finish the $700,000 job, which was financed by state capital funds and money raised by the 2021 green economy bond.

During the final phase of construction, the parking lot will be closed. DEM advises patrons that parking along Succotash Road is prohibited by the South Kingstown ordinance.

DEM hopes the new entryway reduces traffic congestion by getting vehicles off the roadway and into the parking lot faster. Also, the project improved the infrastructure to capture stormwater runoff in the parking lot and infiltrate it in the ground over a period of days to prevent it from reaching the ocean. Additional stormwater improvements are planned for the fall, after the 2023 beach season. Precipitation in an urban or suburban area that does not evaporate or soak into the ground but instead runs across the land and into the nearest waterway is stormwater runoff. This runoff can hold harmful pollutants like fertilizer, pet waste, chemical contaminants like pesticides, leaking fuel, motor oil, litter, and sediment such as dirt and sand. If left untreated, it can cause beach closures, shellfish closures, and other water quality problems.

“Cleaner beaches start with better stormwater controls,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “Installing a better infiltration system is an integral part of this project.”

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