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DEM Announces East Matunuck State Beach Parking Lot Entrance Reopening Dec. 15, Beach Entry Improvement Project Paused During Winter Months

PROVIDENCE, RI –The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that it will temporarily reopen the entrance to the parking lot at East Matunuck State Beach in South Kingstown to the public beginning Dec. 15, marking a pause in an improvement project to construct a new entry lane to enable quicker access to the parking lot and help alleviate traffic congestion on Succotash Road during the summer months. The project to add an additional entry lane includes moving the existing underground utilities, constructing new booths, installing curbing, and laying new pavement. The work at the entry will be paused for the winter, although other stormwater management work at East Matunuck State Beach in other parts of the parking lot will continue. Work to complete the new entry lane will resume in Spring 2023 place the finish course of asphalt.

"We are excited for the new entranceway to East Matunuck State Beach to be completed so beach goers can wait less and get to the beach more quickly," said DEM Deputy Director Jason McNamee. "As is the case with any roadway construction project, there were inconveniences — these are often unavoidable if you want to make significant improvements, but hopefully the new entrance will be worth these temporary disruptions. We regret those inconveniences, and we appreciate the public's understanding and patience while building a more effective East Matunuck entry for everyone."

As DEM stated when it announced the project in September, this project required access to the parking lot to remain closed during construction of the new entry lane. While the project was initially planned to be completed this fall, on-site conditions, such as previously unknown underground utilities, have resulted in a later completion date. Additionally, DEM permit requirements identified additional stormwater management needs at the site. This work will continue over the winter at an area of the lot well away from the entry point. While this area of the lot will remain closed to the public, DEM will continue coordinating with the contractor to ensure public access to the parking lot will be available during the pause on work to the entry lane.

According to DEM Division of Parks and Recreation statistics, 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. The approximately $700,000 project is being financed by state capital funds and money raised by the 2021 green economy bond. The project engineer is Laura Marcolini & Associates. The construction contractor is Skurka Construction Inc.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.