Rhode Island Public Works

Find Rhode Island departments of public works or DPW. Public works departments provide information on public projects, maintenance of parks, buildings, roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, traffic signals, snow removal, public utilities, water treatment and sewage.

What do Public Works departments do?

A public works is a department in local government that manages public infrastructure projects and services. Most public works departments are responsible for maintaining roads, bridges, tunnels, public buildings and other public infrastructure in a city, county or state. In northern states, the public works departments are usually responsible for removing snow and ice from roadways. And in coastal communities, the public works departments often manage beachfront erosion-control projects.

In some communities, these departments are responsible for operating water-treatment and waste-water treatment facilities. In other areas, they may be responsible for building code inspections and garbage-collection services. The public works departments in small communities may handle animal control or pest control services such as mosquito abatement. These offices also work with animal control and with pest control.

Commonly asked questions about Public Works

Does Public Works handle issues with signs?

Yes, in many communities it is the responsibility of the public works department to issue permits for signs and enforce signage regulations.

What do I do if my sidewalk is broken, or damaged by tree roots?

The local public works department can provide guidance about resolving these issues. Some public works departments will fix the problem while others require the homeowner to take care of it. In most cases, the public works department is responsible for inspecting and issuing permits for repairs to streets and sidewalks.

Can citizens open fire hydrants?

Most communities the public is not allowed to open fire hydrants. The reduced water pressure from open hydrants can make it difficult to fight fires nearby if they occur.