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6/16/2023 General Assembly approves legislation to prevent repeated digging up of roadways
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Robert Britto (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) and Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket) that would better align projects so that roadways across Rhode Island aren’t dug up multiple times.

The Utility Repair Act (2023-S 0990aa, 2023-H 6494aa) would require utilities to coordinate with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to develop a comprehensive plan that aligns planned state and utility projects.

“Too often, we see examples of a newly repaved roadway being dug up again because of an unrelated utility project,” noted Sen. Britto. “This is not only an inconvenience to local businesses, residents and motorists. It is also an extremely inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. We can do better. A little coordination will save money and result in longer useful life of the roadway.”

The bill would require utilities to identify immediate and longer-term needs and align the timing of their projects with RIDOT projects in the same area, so the same roadway isn’t dug up multiple times.

“Not only would this legislation prevent the constant tearing up of roads that were just repaired, it would also prohibit utilities from passing along the cost of road repair to ratepayers, providing financial incentive for coordination with RIDOT,” said Representative Shallcross Smith. “This is a good bill that addresses a concern all Rhode Islanders have had for years.”

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903