By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – A $5 million facelift of the Providence Train Station is planned for the spring of 2013 and will be followed by a study of future high-speed rail improvements to the transit hub and its tracks, the R.I. Department of Transportation said Wednesday.
Improvements will include repairs to damaged concrete and limestone in the station and a reconstruction of the entrance plazas on both the downtown and Gaspee Street sides of the building, which opened in 1986.
The redesigned plazas will include a new bus drop-off lane at the Gaspee Street entrance and improved walkways, landscaping and Americans-with-Disability-Act-compliant approaches at both entrances.
RIDOT has committed $1 million to pay for the project, which is expected to cost between $5 million and $6 million, and is still searching for additional funding sources to make up the difference.
“The first phase will include short-term infrastructure repair and aesthetic improvements,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis in an announcement.
“We’ll focus on reconstructing the plaza on the downtown side of the train station to help improve bus and pedestrian connections from downtown Providence and Kennedy Plaza,” he added. “And we’ll improve the access and visibility on the Francis Street side of the station.”
The high-speed rail study will include environmental and engineering reviews that are designed to find the best way to speed the flow of freight and passenger trains through the station area.
The study will be paid for by $3 million from the federal government for the expansion of high-speed rails and could include analysis of improvements to pedestrian access and additional parking facilities.