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RI Department of Environmental Management
DEM SETS MARCH 13 START DATE FOR CONSTRUCTION OF NEW BOAT RAMP PARKING AREA AT COLT STATE PARK
Boat Ramp Closed During Construction; Expected to Open by Memorial Day; Meanwhile Boaters Redirected to Bristol's Independence Park
PROVIDENCE - On March 13, the Department of Environmental Management will begin construction of a new parking area adjacent to the boat launch at Colt State Park that will accommodate 60 boats and trailers. The current parking area has space for only about 15 vehicles.
The improvements should be completed by Memorial Day, in time for the summer boating season. During construction, the boat ramp at Colt Park will be closed and public access to the site will be blocked. In the meantime, boaters are being advised to use the ramp at Independence Park in Bristol. Bristol's State Street ramp is also available, but parking is limited to town residents.
The contractor for the $269,697 project is the Narragansett Improvement Company of Providence. Funding is from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration program.
The boat ramp was reconstructed last year. It is one of several handicap accessible boat ramps designed and built by DEM in the past four years, for which the department recently received the US Fish and Wildlife Service Director's Equal Opportunity Achievement Award.
With the help of the Governor's Commission on Disabilities and participating local communities, DEM has reconstructed or newly built several boat ramps that allow easy access to recreation services by people with physical limitations. The facilities each include a non-slip metal dock with multiple landings that allow boaters with disabilities and others to easily board their boats regardless of the level of the tide. Each dock is purposely configured to be submerged at different stages of the tide, with a good portion of it flooded at high tide. The design, in effect, allows the water to come to the boater, giving easy access to vessels at all times.
The first new launch facility was built at Weaver Cove in Portsmouth in 1996. Since then, ramps have been reconstructed at Bold Point in East Providence, Oakland Beach in Warwick, and, last year, at Colt State Park in Bristol. A new handicap access boating facility is nearing completion at Main Street in Westerly, and construction of another is expected to begin next fall at Haines Park, to serve East Providence and Barrington. DEM will continue to work collaboratively with the Governor's Commission on Disabilities on additional boat ramp and dock improvements throughout the state over the next few years.
There are an estimated 54,000 boats that use Rhode Island waters, including 35,000 registered in the state.