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4/21/2022 Sen. Rogers wants oversight of DOT’s award of Rt. 146 contract
STATE HOUSE — Senator Gordon E. Rogers (R-Dist. 21, Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich) was stunned when he learned the R.I. Department of Transportation awarded a contract for work on Route 146 to the highest bidder – which will cost taxpayers $35 million more than a lower bid proposal.

RIDOT awarded a $167 million contract for work to Skanska and JH Lynch & Sons, Inc. as a joint venture.  It appears that bids of $144 million and $132 million, both from reputable companies, were rejected in favor of the winning $167 million contract.  JH Lynch & Sons, Inc. is a Cumberland-based company.

“There is no question the work to reconstruct Route 146 is necessary for repair, maintenance and safety but I have a real problem with the winning bid costing taxpayers $35 million more than a lower bid by a reputable company,” Senator Rogers said.

Apart from his objection to the bidding process, Senator Rogers has proposed legislation (2022-S 2211) which would enable RIDOT to send taxpayer dollars to all municipalities to help fund local roadway repairs and maintenance.  One proposal would ensure that every community throughout Rhode Island would get a minimum amount (for example--$1 million per city and town for a total of $39 million) to help repair and maintain local roads, which are 80 percent of the roadways in Rhode Island.  “Despite the $2.5 billion RI will receive under the new federal infrastructure law in addition to the millions RIDOT will receive from our annual budget, it is astounding to me that municipalities are not part of the plan.” 

Rogers added, “I hope my colleagues in the Senate will conduct immediate oversight hearings into the bidding process for the 146 project.  We need to determine why the winning bidder is costing taxpayers $35 million more than other respectable companies.  RIDOT spends tons of taxpayer dollars and the way they spend it is deserving of scrutiny.”

Construction, according to Skanska, will begin late this year and is scheduled for completion in November 2025.

More than 171,000 vehicles travel Route 146 between Providence and Worcester, Massachusetts, each day, and the project should help relieve congestion, improve safety – just one intersection along the project corridor has an average of 85 crashes per year – and enhance economic activity by easing the movement of freight through the area.

For more information, contact:
Katie Haughey Cardoza, Senate Minority Office
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2708