- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

JAMESTOWN, R.I. (AP) - A loop road that goes around a lighthouse at a Rhode Island state park has become so dangerously eroded that is it being closed to vehicular traffic, state environmental officials announced Tuesday.

The road surrounding the lighthouse at Beavertail State Park in Jamestown will be closed to vehicles starting Feb. 3, although it will remain accessible to pedestrians, the Department of Environmental Management said in a statement.

“Residual damage from Superstorm Sandy along with erosion and storm surge intensified by climate change-driven sea level rise have caused dangerous washouts along the perimeter road and the surrounding pedestrian path” at the waterfront park at the southern tip of Jamestown, the department said.

Spokesman Michael Healey said they believe it’s the first road the department has had to close due to the impacts of climate change. They don’t think it’s defensible to spend public money to repave the roadway, when it would later be washed away by the rising sea, he added.

Unlike northern Jamestown, Beavertail’s elevation is only 10 to 12 feet, he said.

Posts and chains have been installed at the closure area, along with signs directing pedestrian traffic to continue to access the loop.

DEM’s strategic study on modernizing state parks and beaches notes that Rhode Island must do more to make our special places more resilient to the effects of climate change, and this project does just that,” department Director Janet Coit said.

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