The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announced Thursday that work will begin Sept. 13 to add another lane to the entrance and strengthen stormwater controls at East Matunuck State Beach in South Kingstown. DEM anticipates that the almost-$700,000 project, which is being financed by state capital funds and money raised by the 2021 green economy bond, will be finished by January 2023.
During construction, the beach will remain open to pedestrians, but the parking lot will be closed. DEM is advising patrons that parking along Succotash Road is prohibited by local ordinance. DEM suggests that visitors wishing to access the beach by car do so by parking at the Deep Hole parking lot, located about a half-mile west on Matunuck Beach Road. East Matunuck is a popular destination. More than 50,000 vehicles paid for parking spaces with an estimated 170,000 beach goers visiting East Matunuck during each of the past two summers, according to DEM Division of Parks and Recreation statistics.
“There’s only one way to East Matunuck State Beach and that’s by Succotash Road,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “DEM is grateful for the partnership of the Town of South Kingstown and South Kingstown Police Department over many years in managing the traffic that builds on the road and ensuring the safety of beach goers. We hope that the new entrance will help reduce congestion by getting vehicles off the roadway and into the parking lot faster. Also, this project is an example of the importance of the investments that the State of Rhode Island can make in public assets thanks to green bonds. We urge Rhode Island voters to approve Question 3 in November. Passage of the 2022 green bond will help power projects to increase municipal resilience against climate change, protect clean water, revitalize brownfield sites, and conserve open space.”
Along with changing the entrance, the project will improve the system used by DEM to capture stormwater runoff in the parking lot and infiltrate it in the ground over a period of days to prevent it from reaching the ocean. Precipitation in an urban or suburban area that does not evaporate or soak into the ground but instead runs across the land and into the nearest waterway is stormwater runoff. This runoff holds harmful pollutants like fertilizer, pet waste, chemical contaminants like pesticides, leaking fuel, motor oil, litter, and sediment such as dirt and sand. It can cause beach closures, shellfish closures, and other water quality problems if left untreated.
“Cleaner beaches start with better stormwater control,” said Director Gray. “Installing a better infiltration system is an important component of this project.”
The project engineer is Laura Marcolini & Associates. The construction contractor is Skurka Construction Inc. The total project cost is $690,670.
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