2006-04-20 / Letters to the Editor

Merchants, town work out compromise on village waterline replacement project

By Donna K. Drago

Last week merchants let town officials know they were not happy about the waterline replacement project now underway on Narragansett Avenue.

At a meeting hosted by the town last Thursday, village merchants expressed concerns that the project would have a negative impact on their businesses just when the busy season is getting underway.

"The merchants did a good job impressing upon us and the contractor" that the road work would impact businesses that have a seasonal upswing in the spring and summer months, Town Administrator Bruce Keiser said.

Charles Petit, the newly-elected president of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, said that merchants were concerned that the disruption caused by the waterline replacement project would keep people away from their shops and eateries.

"But we want everyone to know it's business as usual" in Jamestown for the duration of the project, Petit said.

Keiser said the contractor, C.B. Utility Co. of Bristol, was "very co-operative, very sensitive to business needs."

Several changes were made to the contractor's schedule to accommodate the merchants' requests, Keiser said.

He said that where the contractors were originally planning to work a five-day work week, they have now agreed to work four, eliminating Fridays from the schedule.

Petit said that many restaurants get their food and beverage deliveries on Fridays and were afraid of the potential impacts if the truckers could not get to the businesses.

Another change, Keiser said, is that the contractor will work a 10hour day, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. to keep the work moving along as quickly as possible.

A third change is that the contractor plans to work on "wet days," Keiser said, noting that the original terms called for no work when it was raining.

When the project was announced, the plan was to complete the section of Narragansett Avenue from Conanicus Avenue to Coronado Street by Memorial Day, and the section from Coronado to North Main Road done by July 4, Keiser said. The new schedule is to have the entire project finished by Memorial Day, he said.

The July 4 deadline "allowed for some flexibility," as in the case of bad weather, but the contractors have agreed to work as quickly as possible to meet the new deadline, according to Keiser.

On helping the merchants, Keiser said there would be detour signs posted at the intersections to let people know that the businesses were open.

Petit said the town came back with a good plan.

He added that everyone knows it would be "impossible to complete the job without some disruption," and accepts the "slight inconvenience," the new schedule proposes.

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