By: News Staff
HOPKINTON, R.I. – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation announced Monday that they will not longer be moving forward with the Hopkinton Plaza.
RIDOT asked the Federal Highway Administration to revoke the application for a $9 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant for the Rhode Island Travel Plaza and Transit Center.
Many Hopkinton residents expressed concerns over the project, and those concerns along with sensitive environmental findings at the location RIDOT chose to build the center impacted the decision.
The location was along I-95, west of Main Street in Hopkinton.
RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said, "This was the right decision to make for several reasons. 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."
During an analysis of the site, wetlands were delineated along several areas. The property was also within a groundwater reservoir district and the development would have been above an aquifier.
"All of this gave us pause," said Director Alviti, "but most importantly our archaeological surveys showed that there were historical artifacts of great significance to the Narragansett Indians including three cemeteries."
Approximately $3 million of what has already been budgeted for the project will be used to enhance the existing Welcome Center on I-95. That center has gained widespread approval from the public and truckers who use it since RIDOT reopened it last summer.
Part of the funds will be used towards the installation of electrical pods that will allow truckers to plug in at night for warmth and light.
© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017