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Senate approves Sen. Britto’s bill to prevent
repeated digging up of roadways



STATE HOUSE – The Senate on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Robert Britto aimed at better aligning projects so that roadways across Rhode Island aren’t dug up multiple times.


The bill (2023-S 0990), titled the Utility Repair Act, would require utilities to coordinate with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to develop a comprehensive plan that aligns planned state and utility projects.


“Too often, we see examples of a newly repaved roadway being dug up again because of an unrelated utility project,” noted Sen. Britto (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket). “This is not only an inconvenience to local businesses, residents, and motorists. It is also an extremely inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. We can do better. A little coordination will save money and result in longer useful life of the roadway.”


Sen. Britto’s bill would require utilities to identify immediate and longer-term needs and align the timing of their projects with RIDOT projects in the same area, so the same roadway isn’t dug up multiple times. Further, it prohibits utilities from passing along the cost of road repair to ratepayers, providing financial incentive for coordination with RIDOT.


The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.