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Report: R.I., nation need infrastructure improvements

THE MARCH 2010 FLOODS put extra stress on many Rhode Island dams. The American Society of Civil Engineers report scored the state for not having any emergency action plans for its dams. Here, workers from Leslandes Construction work to ensure that the dam at Natick Mill does erode and fail due to rising water.
Posted 3/21/13

RESTON, Va. – Rhode Island is a state with 87 high-hazard dams, 156 structurally deficient bridges and 6,401 public road miles - 70 percent of which are considered to be of poor or mediocre quality.

These are some of the findings in the 2013 Report Card for American’s Infrastructure, released Tuesday, by the American Society for Civil Engineers.

In each of the 50 states, the report examines need, operation and maintenance, public safety and resilience in 16 categories, including aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks and recreation, rail, roads, schools, solid waste, transit and wastewater.

In Rhode Island, dams, drinking water, bridges and public roads are infrastructure with issues.

The report points out that none of the state’s dams have emergency action plans and that Rhode Island has a reported $428 million in drinking water infrastructure needs during the next 20 years.

Additionally, the state has 12 hazardous waste sites on the National Priorities list, and about 21 percent of its 757 bridges are considered structurally deficient, and about 34 percent functionally obsolete.

The report also found that driving on Ocean State roads in need of repair costs motorists $350 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs, or about $467 per motorist.

Rhode Island also has reported an unmet need of $3.6 million for its parks system. In addition, the report estimated that the state’s schools have $696 million in infrastructure funding needs.

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