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Wickford Junction Ahead of Schedule

Trains could be rolling into North Kingstown by April 1.

Construction at Wickford Junction Plaza is ahead of schedule, tracks are being laid and trains could be rolling into North Kingstown as early as April 1.

The bulk of the $22-million project being built by Manafort Brothers Inc. of Plainfield, Conn., should be done by the end of this year, according to Robert Cioe, owner of Wickford Junction on Ten Rod Road. Workers are applying asphalt inside the shopping center adjacent to the new station and landscapers have begun their work on the property. Amtrak is ahead of schedule laying track into the station, he said, raising hopes the project could wrap up as much as a month sooner than expected.

"We were originally talking April 30, so we're right where we need to be," Cioe said. "We're optimistic everything is going to fall into place."

The Rhode Island Department of Transtportation has completed upgrades to Route 102 leading into Wickford Junction, Cioe said. Improvements include widening the station side of Route 102 between the railroad overpass and the Wickford Junction entrance, lengthening the left-turn lane into Wickford Plaza for eastbound traffic and updating traffic lights. Amtrak is also working on traffic lights and installing software to control train signals – work that should be completed by the end of January.

The handicap-accessible station boasts a 450-foot platform and a three-story, 1,100-space parking garage with heated and cooled restrooms and waiting space. The shopping center includes a Wal-Mart, which plans to add a full supermarket, Cioe said, and other smaller retailers, as well as a hair salon. There is also about 8,000 square feet of available retail space. While no tenants have yet been identified, Cioe said he's hopeful the space will fill up once the trains start running.

"There's just a lack of confidence in the economy right now. No one knows what's going to happen," Cioe said. "But we have a lot of positives going for us. I think we'll be ahead of the curve when things start to turn around. We will certainly be positioned better than other shopping centers."

When completed, Wickford Junction will be the southernmost stop of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter rail. RIDOT projects as many as 1,500 riders will travel from Wickford Junction, making stops at T.F. Green Airport, Providence and Boston. A trip to Providence should take about 20 minutes.

RIDOT anticipates there could be a maximum of 10 round trips a day through Wickford, according to spokesman Bryan Lucier. The schedule — and number of round trips — is still under consideration, and won't be finalized until early next year, he said.

Cioe expects tickets will be sold online and from machines at the station. Travelers will pay $2.75 each way to Providence and a little less to the airport. A ticket to Boston will cost $9. Commuters can park in the three-story garage for $4 a day, and bike racks will also be available. Parking for commuters will be strictly prohibited at the Wickford Junction businesses.

Govstench October 23, 2011 at 06:54 PM
This is a rather aggressive project with that massive garage on the end. It will remain to be seen how long it will take for that to be fully utilzed. This station should take some commuter traffic from the Kingstown Station near URI. Will people come to Wickford Junction to shop? Doubtful as that is not fully developed. This station for now is a nice park and ride setup.
Shawn Witt October 24, 2011 at 02:00 AM
I'm a homeowner in Boston, and a Rhode Island native. I'm SO EXCITED about the station, as I will be able to visit family & go to the beach in RI. Naturally, I will use the retail stores at the station. especially for things that we don't have in Boston....like Walmart. I'm looking forward to using the station next Spring!
Paul W Mercer February 27, 2012 at 06:38 PM
New alternative to get to Fenway Park!
4ResponsibleSitings February 27, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Good Luck Paul- The MBTA is facing a $161 million projected deficit and is required to have a balanced budget. So it's looking at raising fares and eliminating service on weekends and after 10 p.m. on weeknights. The Providence-Stoughton commuter train line stops in Providence and at TF Green Airport. And proposed cuts would eliminate 19 stops over the weekend and four stops during the week. MBTA acting GM Jonathan Davis says the savings has to come from somewhere.
Mike Burt March 07, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Has anyone heard when this will start? There is a real lack of information around it at the moment.
Samantha Turner (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Hey Mike, I just talked to Rob Cioe and the tentative date is April 23. I should have more information by the end of the week/early next week.
Rob Cioe March 13, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Mike - we've been waiting for firm dates from RIDOT & MBTA. Still the tentative date to start trains is April 23rd. I will also be updating our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/wickfordjunction with contuing updates as we get closer to the opening. IF you "like" the page on facebook, you should be able to see the updates. Thanks, Rob

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