A radar image of Hurricane Sandy during the afternoon on Monday, October 29, 2012.
RIDOT is taking several steps to prepare for heavy rain and wind associated with Hurricane Sandy. These include:
- Working with contractors to secure construction sites.
- Visiting a number of known drainage “hot spots” to ensure that all storm drains, grates and discharge lines are clear of debris that could exacerbate flooding.
- Pre-positioning vehicles, equipment and employees at RIDOT's maintenance facilities across the state to be ready to clear roads as soon as conditions are safe.
- Coordinating with other State agencies, chiefly the R.I. Emergency Management Agency.
- Establishing methods to inform the public about roads or bridges that may be closed due to flooding or downed trees or limbs.
What to expect during the storm:
Despite these precautionary efforts, heavy rains associated with a hurricane or tropical storm can overwhelm drainage systems and cause localized flooding. Low-lying areas along rivers and the coastline are subject to flooding from intense rainfall and storm surge. Here are some important tips:
- Just as in a winter storm, motorists should plan ahead and conclude travel before conditions worsen.
- Heed warnings from emegency management personnel or local police and fire, especially regarding evacuations.
- Never drive over a flooded roadway. Its depth is not obvious and the roadbed may have washed out beneath the water. It only takes two feet of water to carry away most automobiles.
As winds intensify, the likelihood increases for road closures due to debris such as downed trees and limbs. Watch out for downed power lines, debris in the roadway and non-functioning traffic signals due to power outages.
- Major bay-crossing bridges such as the Pell (Newport) Bridge and the Sakonnet River Bridge may be closed in high winds. The R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority has specific criteria for closing the Pell Bridge or the Mt. Hope Bridge. RIDOT would follow the same criteria for the Sakonnet River Bridge and Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge, however the R.I. State Police would enforce any closures.
How can I find out information during the storm and how can I report problems to RIDOT?
- As storm conditions worsen, there will be a period of time where RIDOT Highway and Bridge Maintenance crews will be called in for their safety. They will resume work as quickly as possible.
- Motorists can obtain traffic information and road conditions by calling 511.
- Travel information also will be available on highway message boards, 1630 AM, and online at www.tmc.dot.ri.gov.
- To contact RIDOT regarding downed limbs, washouts, or other roadway problems, call the R.I. Emergency Management Agency at any time at 401-462-7528 or 401-462-7529.
- Information may also be posted on RIDOT’s website (www.dot.ri.gov) and its social media sites on Twitter and Facebook.
What is RIDOT's role in storm recovery?
- Overall, RIDOT's mission is to reopen roads and bridges as quickly as possible, as well as making other repairs.
- Priority will be given first to the Interstates, then main arterial roadways, then secondary roadways. Simultaneously, city and town public works departments will be clearing and reopening local roads.
- RIDOT will be removing debris and downed trees from roadways and coordinating clean-up with other organizations such as utility companies.
- RIDOT will make emergency repairs to damaged roads and bridges.
- RIDOT will authorize emergency contracts for more complex repairs.
- Just as in the Great Flood of 2010, some roads and bridges may suffer significant damage and require long-term closures.
- RIDOT will make all efforts to communicate information about road and bridge closures to the media and general public. Information will be posted on RIDOT’s website (www.dot.ri.gov) and its social media sites on Twitter and Facebook.
Storm prepardness links
The map provided below details the locations where roads may be closed due to flood waters or debris such as tree limbs.