Chapel realignment happening now; sidewalks go to four feet

Chapel realignment happening now; sidewalks go to four feet

Sidewalks were ripped up where Angell Road turns onto Diamond Hill Road Tuesday as workers complete the realignment of the intersection as part of the double roundabout project. A new turn lane will be added here, as well as on Bear Hill Road, and those two roads will be better aligned, allowing for the elimination of one light phase and better flow of traffic. (Breeze photo by Tom Ward)

CUMBERLAND – As workers move to the Chapel Four Corners portion of the Diamond Hill Road roundabouts project this week, one outstanding issue with the project appears to have been addressed.

A local resident and advocate for people with disabilities had previously complained that some telephone poles along the route were placed 36 inches from the edge of the curb, which she said did not comply with the latest federal rules calling for 48 inches for ADA accessibility.

A measurement of the spaces between the poles and curb this week showed that all but one pole is now at 48 inches or greater, and the last pole is just an inch off, at 47 inches. One pole was at 59 inches from the curb, another at 55 inches. A large rock was chiseled back until it also reached the 48-inch mark.

The Breeze had previously reported that federal highway officials were looking into complaints that the sidewalks didn’t meet the four-foot standard, making it impossible for wheelchairs to pass.

Night work on the Chapel realignment started in earnest Sunday night into Monday. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is looking to better align Bear Hill Road and Angell Road, adding new right-turning lanes on both roads, and will then be able to remove one phase from the light, speeding up traffic. The right-turn lane on Bear Hill next to CVS will be a short one, but it will allow more vehicles to turn right on red.

Also this week, RIDOT opened up the full roundabout on the northbound side of Route 295, meaning drivers looking to turn around by using the roundabout can do so and yield signs are now in effect for those entering the roundabout.

When complete, the roundabout project will mean much smoother traffic flow and fewer backups for a busy stretch of roadway.

Maryan Amaral, the director of advocacy at Boston-based Citizens for Access Inc. who originally complained about the obstructions the telephone poles were causing in the sidewalk for those like her in wheelchairs, said while the four-foot width is now in place, she still has a number of issues with the project, including that there is no accessible route during construction, which is against ADA requirements.

“They made some improvements, but it is not accessible,” she said.