CHARLESTOWN — Construction has begun on the new reconfigured boat launch at Quonochontaug (Quonnie) Pond.

The old launch was installed in 1971 and delivered boats into the strong currents of the breachway. The old ramp will be removed and replaced with large, flat stones, which will provide additional fishing areas. A new, 24-foot concrete ramp is being built on the calmer pond side.

Funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program, the project is expected to cost $475,000 and will also include a six-foot-wide floating dock, which will be added next fall.

The work is being performed by the engineering firm, Fuss & O’Neill, under the direction of The Nature Conservancy and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

“Increasing access to outdoor recreation in Rhode Island is a top priority of DEM,” said DEM Director Janet Coit in a Wednesday press release. “Working with strong partners such as The Nature Conservancy to invest in providing better recreation opportunities to fishers, boaters, and paddlers at Quonnie — one of our state’s true treasures — will allow more people to connect with nature. This is a rewarding project that we are excited to announce.”

Construction of the new boat launch is expected to be completed by April 30. During construction, the old ramp will be closed and access to West Beach Road will be restricted during construction hours.

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