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      Work begins on former I-195 land

      Work began Monday on a $13 million contract on the 40 acres freed up in downtown Providence by the relocation of Interstate 195.

      This first project on the land will restore Friendship Street right up to Interstate 95. Maybe more important than the actual street is the installation of sewers and utilities, which will allow the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission to begin marketing the land.

      Commission Chairman Colin Kane -- when asked why it has taken so long to get moving given that the land was cleared three years ago and that his commission established two years ago -- said it's actually happening pretty quickly for a development project of such size.

      Kane said it will be a long time before the entire parcel is built out. Of the 40 acres, about 20 will be available for building after the streets and parks are created.

      This first road project is slated for completion next year. Another road project on the other side of the river is the next one scheduled to get under way.

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