Quality public infrastructure supports economic development

December 12, 2014 - Rhode Island

James Moran, City of East Providence

One important component in promoting a vibrant community that supports economic vitality and growth, is a city's commitment to providing high quality infrastructure in support of economic development. Nationally, the condition of our public infrastructure has been in steady decline as our roadways and bridges in particular, age and maintenance is often deferred. Many of our most heavily traveled roadways and bridges in the northeast are in substandard condition and in dire need of maintenance or, in many cases, a complete rebuild or replacement.
In East Providence, improvements to our city's public infrastructure both state and locally funded, have been a major priority and we have seen some prominent success stories recently that play an important role in promoting our city as a great place to locate or expand a business.
Waterfront Drive, which includes the recently completed Dexter Road Connector and Warren Avenue Connector, is the centerpiece of the city's redevelopment effort and is the primary corridor for redevelopment of our waterfront. It is expected that this roadway will generate significant economic investment in the coming years. The city continues to lobby the state to complete the northern connection to Pawtucket to further economic investment in the Rumford section of our city.
In addition, East Providence has seen several important bridge replacement projects associated with our I-195 corridor that carry thousands of vehicles per day in on out of Providence and East Providence. Additional major bridge replacement plans for connections to the East Shore Expressway are planned within the next year. These new bridges, with expected lifespans of fifty to sixty years, are important to commerce not only for East Providence but for the state and our region.
Commercial corridor enhancements have also been a high priority for the city. The Warren Avenue Enhancement project, the most recently completed effort, has spruced up an aging corridor and has served as a mechanism for improving local pride in our community. Similar improvements along Taunton Ave. and Broadway have had a positive impact on the image of our city.
The city has also taken steps to improve its water delivery and sewage treatment systems through system facility upgrades that will lead to a more efficient water delivery system and improved water quality through critical sewer system upgrades. Efforts to build and maintain a modern infrastructure system can be costly, but they are a necessary priority when attempting to attract and retain business and commercial investment in a community.
Developers and other parties who are interested in learning more about the economic development activities occurring in East Providence are encouraged to visit the city's website at www.eastprovidence.com or the City's Waterfront District website at www.eastprovidencewaterfront.com.
James Moran is the economic planner for East Providence, R.I.

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