GLOCESTER – Five roads in town will be paved or repaved sometime in the spring, thanks in part to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation Municipal Road and Bridge Program. That includes one of the few remaining public dirt roads, Willie Woodhouse Road, in West Glocester.
“There aren’t many public dirt roads left in town,” said Department of Public Works Director Gary Treml. “People are all the time asking us to pave their roads, including private roads.”
Willie Woodhead Road has a brief area of paving, then turns to dirt and, eventually, becomes inaccessible in the middle of the length of the road. However, both ends are accessible with a number of homes on them. Treml said the town will not be opening up the road in its entirety, but paving both ends.
He added there are a number of private dirt roads, but less than a handful of public dirt roads, remaining in the town.
The RIDOT program will provide $20 million in funding statewide for municipal roads, sidewalks and bridges. It requires 67 percent local contribution, with a 33 percent contribution from the state. Glocester compiled a list of projects that needed to be done, including Joe Sarle Road, Dexter Saunders Road, Tourtellot Hill Road, Cooper Road from Farnum Road to Route 44, and both ends of Willie Woodhead Road.
The total of all town roadwork is $804,316. The state will provide $265,423 with Glocester’s portion equal to $538,893. Portions of the town’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, totaling $90,000, was able to be put toward the town’s obligation. The DPW also utilized $100,000 of capital paving funds to date, leaving $450,000 available to serve as a match for the RIDOT funding.
Treml and Town Planner Karen Scott created the grant, which helped take some of the burden off taxpayers in improving town roads.
“We want to thank you and Gary for working together on figuring out how we can take advantage of some of this state money,” said Council Vice President Stephen Arnold at a recent council meeting. “The match was unfortunate, but we will take whatever we can get.”