RI roads chief: more, smaller projects in ’11

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – The head of Rhode Island's Department of Transportation says the agency will have a different approach as it moves into the new year: thinking smaller.

The shift comes with the near completion of the agency's biggest job – a $623 million project to move Route 195 out of downtown Providence.

Department chief Michael Lewis says now the agency can spend money on more and smaller projects, such as fixing smaller bridges and secondary and local roads.

For instance, the department says nine bridges either closed or posted with weight limits were under construction in 2010, and it plans to advertise another 17 bridges for bid in 2011.

Lewis warns, though, that there will be traffic disruptions because projects will be spread more broadly across the state.