2011-03-10 / News

RITBA votes to renovate its headquarters

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority board of directors met for its monthly board meeting yesterday at the Jamestown Philomenian Library and approved plans to solicit construction proposals for its Jamestown headquarters, which needs structural repairs.

The board also discussed the feasibility of adopting open road tolling on the Newport Pell Bridge at the March 9 meeting.

In December, the board awarded a contract to Burgin Lambert Architects of Newport for the rehabilitation of the 50-year-old building it uses as headquarters.

“The modifications to the administration building are necessary and long overdue,” said David Darlington, chairman of the board of directors. “The E-ZPass operations have been conducted from a temporary trailer office due to the lack of appropriate office space in the administrative building. Other than making the building more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, RITBA has not made any substantive upgrades to the building since it was constructed in 1959. With this project, we will make the building safer and more comfortable for the employees and toll-payers that work and visit the building.”

At the meeting, the board reviewed the design, which includes recommendations for the most efficient use of the RITBA property and unify its operational functions. Construction work may begin as soon as the third quarter of 2011. The $1.7 million project is expected to be completed by July 2012.

“The building will be an efficient, secure, and modern working environment that will harmonize with the Jamestown Village aesthetics and create an appropriate gateway to Jamestown and Newport,” Darlington said.

Also discussed were alterations to the toll plaza to accommodate open road tolling.

“Now that we have addressed our highest priority issues of modernizing toll collection through the implementation of E-ZPass and securing funding for the significant maintenance and repair requirements of the bridges, we will turn our attention to how and if we can add open road tolling,” said Darlington. “We’ve had considerable feedback from the public about their desire to make toll collection on the Pell Bridge more convenient and fully modernized. This will mean that if we were to implement open road tolling, we would need to install video cameras and designate staff to enforce payment.”

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