2014-02-28 / Front Page

Cliff Walk Reconstruction Scope Expanded

By Barry Bridges


Walkways are being reconstructed between Rough Point and Ledge Road in preparation for the June re-opening of the Cliff Walk. Walkways are being reconstructed between Rough Point and Ledge Road in preparation for the June re-opening of the Cliff Walk. The spring is shaping up to be a busy time for Cliff Walk construction crews.

Supplemental funding has been appropriated for additional repairs necessary to shore up the famous walk, which took a beating by Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012.

Two initiatives have been added to the original roster of work, increasing the project tally by nearly $2 million. At the Feb. 19 meeting of the Newport Cliff Walk Commission, it was announced that repairs to a 60- foot section of a stone masonry wall at the northeast corner of Rough Point and adjacent to the Samuel Mencoff estate will be completed at a price of $700,000. Meanwhile, a 200-foot concrete form liner resembling a stone wall will be installed at the fence line at Miramar to better stabilize the path. Refurbishing the fence and steps at Miramar are also part of this effort at a price of $1.2 million.


Crews have finished clearing rocks and debris deposited by Hurricane Sandy in the tunnel near Clarendon Court at Sheep’s Point. Crews have finished clearing rocks and debris deposited by Hurricane Sandy in the tunnel near Clarendon Court at Sheep’s Point. The original contract for $3.2 million to repair the southern sections of the popular walkway was awarded last fall to the John Rocchio Corp. of Smithfield after a competitive bidding process. With the added elements, the total cost of refurbishing the coastal trail will now be over $5.1 million. The tab will be borne through state and federal emergency funds set aside for storm recovery.

Robert Power, chairman of the commission, told Newport This Week that the extra monies were secured through the combined efforts of the Department of Transportation, the governor’s office, and Rhode Island’s congressional delegation.

While the additional components are currently in the permitting process, they are expected to be approved. Power said that the new pieces of the project could really be considered a change order to the original contract specifications. Construction equipment and the needed manpower are already in place to move forward.

The original completion date of the restoration will not be impacted.

Work from Ledge Road to Bailey’s Beach was finished as anticipated in early December. That section of the walk is currently open, along with a portion not significantly damaged during Sandy, from Memorial Avenue to Ruggles Avenue at The Breakers.

While the span from Ruggles Avenue to Ledge Road remains closed as crews replace what was lost, the project is on schedule notwithstanding the contractor’s break during the winter months. Fifty-four percent of construction time has elapsed and 46 percent of the work has occurred. Among the completed items are stone dust and concrete walkways, armor stone placement, masonry wall reconstruction, and repaired railings at Ruggles and Rosecliff. Further, debris has been cleared from tunnels, existing stone walls have been fortified, and voids in the rocks have been infilled. The June 13 re-opening date will accommodate the summer season’s annual influx of visitors.

Power said that “the commission is extremely happy that the scope of the effort has been expanded to cover these identified needs. We are more accustomed to having to downsize projects.”

He continued, “The reconstruction is a great thing for Newport. The Cliff Walk continues to be the largest tourist attraction in Rhode Island, so the work to stabilize the walk for now and the future helps both the state and the local community.”

Return to top