The R.I. Department of Transportation on Oct. 21 reversed course and said it would not seek a review of the contested South Water Street bike lane in Providence.
State transportation officials had previously warned Mayor Jorge O. Elorza to stop construction on the two-way bike lane until federal and state transportation officials could review the work. RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said the city could be forced to pay back $4.4 million in federal and state funds spent on prior improvements to the street.
But the state agency backed off after the Federal Highway Administration declined to get involved.
The bike lane is part of a Elorza’s larger Great Streets Initiative plan to make the city more accessible by multiple forms of transportation. But some abutting businesses have raised traffic and safety concerns.
The bike lane, which was recently completed and is in use, cost the city $300,000.