Officials say work to open the road that leads up the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge has begun. The road has been closed since concrete slabs washed up during Hurricane Sandy last October.
Although officials previously announced the refuge would be open by the end of January 2013, winter weather delayed the project. There are no official estimates of when the refuge will be open, but a Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) official said the project to clear the road should take approximately a month.
“We are grateful to our state and federal partners for helping us restore access to this vital natural resource that was virtually cut off after Hurricane Sandy,” Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. “When all is said and done, we anticipate making a total investment of over $20 million in repairs to Rhode Island’s overall transportation infrastructure – projects that will support good construction jobs for Rhode Islanders.”
In January, Congress passed a $51 billion emergency Appropriations package to help millions of victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast. The supplemental includes funding championed by U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior & Environment, to meet immediate reconstruction and recovery needs for national wildlife refuges on the Eastern Seaboard, as well as funding for the U.S. Department of Interior to undertake restoration, recovery, and mitigation priorities to protect against future storms and natural disasters.
“I am pleased RIDOT and our federal partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Federal Highway Administration, are working together to repair this road,” said Senator Reed, who brought the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to tour storm damage at Sachuest Point back in December.