An Environmental Study and Design of River Access Sites Along the Historic Blackstone River Corridor in Rhode Island

Document Type



Students of engineering made an informed recommendation on which site or sites along the Blackstone Valley River are feasible to develop as boat launch sites. They present a preliminary site-specific plan for one of the feasible sites and a preliminary U-RAD plan.


The Blackstone River once was integral to life and industry to many towns in northern Rhode Island, but industrial pollution caused it to become unusable. As environmental remediation continues to improve the river, the Site Feasibility Access Project focuses on assessing the environmental risk of five potential river access sites located along the Blackstone River in Pawtucket, Central Falls, North Smithfield, and Cumberland; determining which site is ideal for development, and formulating river access designs for river rescue. The Blackstone Environmental Service Team (BEST) completed Corridor Land Use Evaluations (CLUE) for the sites by inspecting each site and collecting historical data and information from Government Offices and the Rhode Island Historical Society. Each site was rated using the CLUE rating system developed by BEST and a feasible site was selected based on those results. Research on river accessibility was conducted and Rhode Island state standards and specifications were collected. Two river access designs were developed for the Pawtucket Water Supply Board site: one based on current land use conditions and one to integrate with the proposed Blackstone River Bikeway. The initial results suggest that this process of Corridor Land Use Evaluations and river access design can be used in future developments along the river for safety, recreation and limited commercial purposes.

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