Hotel taking Hostages?

Posted in: NAP- Neighborhood Alliance of Pawtucket
John Had the Facts

John Castellucci

Journal Staff Writer

PAWTUCKET ?— The developer of a city-backed hotel on Division Street says the hotel project is being jeopardized by a detour making Division Street one-way.

?“The proposed Hampton Inn Hotel our company is building will not be economically viable if access to the hotel via Division Street is restricted in any way,?” the developer, Alfred Carpionato, of Carpionato Properties, said in a letter to Mayor James E. Doyle Friday.

Mayor Doyle said that, even before Carpionato sent him the letter, several people had expressed concern about the detour, which involved permanently closing the George Street Route 95 on-ramp and making Division Street one-way eastbound.

The expressions of concern came during the first meeting of the I-95 Bridge Task Force, which Doyle organized to monitor the impact of the detour on the city?’s infrastructure and business community and to keep track of the Transportation Department?’s plans to repair or replace the highway bridges.

In November, the Transportation Department said the bridges, though safe for most traffic, were too badly deteriorated to carry trucks weighing more than 22 tons.

In consultation with local officials, the DOT set up an elaborate series of detours to handle the truck traffic, and indicated that they might be in place for as long as five years, when the highway bridges are tentatively scheduled to be replaced.

?“The bridge repairs are scheduled to require five years to complete. This time period coincides with the opening years of the hotel?’s operations,?” Carpionato said in the letter.

?“I cannot stress enough how important it is to have Division Street functioning as a two-way street.?”

Doyle said he plans to respond to the letter ?“as quickly as it?’s humanly possible,?” informing the Johnston developer that he intends to confer with DOT officials about Division Street.

He said he hopes that Carpionato will get back to him just as quickly, alluding to the numerous delays the hotel has encountered since Carpionato was designated as developer of the project in 2003.

Neither Carpionato nor John Kokot, executive vice president of Carpionato Properties, returned a telephone call to their office yesterday.

Under his deal with the city, Carpionato has until next year to complete the first 150 rooms of the planned 200-room hotel development, a Hampton Inn that would be built on 7.4 acres of city-owned land.

Although the City Council set the 2009 deadline 2?½ years ago, Carpionato Properties hasn?’t yet broken ground on the project. The only visible sign of progress has been some site work and a sign saying the hotel will open this year.

The stretch of Division Street that became one-way crosses the Pawtucket River on a two-lane bridge that belongs to the city.

The DOT?’s acting chief engineer, Kazem Farhoumand, said the Transportation Department recommended making that stretch of Division Street one-way after traffic counts indicated the bridge was already carrying 15,000 cars a day and a DOT analysis showed that closing the George Street on-ramp would add another 13,000 or 16,000 cars a day, plus the trucks detoured from the highway.

The DOT concluded from the analysis that, unless the two-lane bridge was made one-way, the planned truck detour ?“would not work,?” Farhoumand said . ?“The backups would be intolerable.?”

The DOT has been taking traffic counts since the detour, Farhoumand said, and plans to incorporate them in an analysis showing what would happen if Division Street were restored to two-way traffic.

He said the analysis should be finished next week and be available for discussion with city officials, who, Farhoumand said, have to authority to decide whether to restore Division Street to two-way traffic, or leave it one-way.

By ProFacts
Pulled Out

Thanks goodness I left before the promised glories went up in smoke. RI a nice place to visit and Pawtucket...well!

By Non-Resident
Signs are nice

Maybe they will have a big picture of the Hotel to put on the site.

By Manny
Free Equipment Parking

Looks like that is what they are doing at the hotel site.

By Watching
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