RIDOT scraps plans for Hopkinton travel plaza, transit center
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is scrapping plans for a multi-million dollar welcome center on Interstate 95 in Hopkinton.
RIDOT asked the federal government to rescind a $9 million grant for the proposed Rhode Island Travel Plaza and Transit Center.
A spokesperson for RIDOT said the decision follows concern from town residents, as well as possible environmental and archaeological impacts.
"This was the right decision to make for several reasons," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said in a statement. "First, we wanted to do what was best for Hopkinton. We understand that the residents treasure the rural nature of their town and they want to keep it that way. Secondly, in light of the findings that came from the environmental site assessments and archaeological review there were other concerns. Finally, in our meetings with FHWA, it was clear that the environmental and social challenges of this project would make it difficult to go through the environmental assessment process in a timely manner."
The statement went on to note that while RIDOT had already budgeted $3 million for the project, a portion of the money will be used to enhance the existing Welcome Center on I-95.
"Part of the funds will be put towards installation of electrical pods that will allow truckers to plug in at night for both warmth and light. This will make the area more environmentally sound and more comfortable for the plaza users. RIDOT will also create additional parking bays for trucks. The balance of the funds will be put toward accelerated bridge reconstruction and repair."