The Department of Public Works (DPW) is established under Article X of the City of Providence Home Rule Charter as adopted March 13, 1997. Under the Charter, the DPW is assigned specific responsibility for "the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of highways and bridges; operation of drawbridges and other movable bridges; snow removal; sidewalks and curbing; street cleaning; garbage and refuse collection and disposal, including operation and maintenance of incinerators and dumps; and street lighting." Several of these functions are no longer applicable; specifically the City no longer operates any drawbridges or other movable bridges, and no longer operates any incinerators or dumps.
With the transfer of the ownership and maintenance responsibility for the Providence sewage treatment plant to the Narragansett Bay Commission, DPW was assigned responsibility for the operation, maintenance and necessary reconstruction of the sanitary sewer and storm drain collection systems in the City.
Also DPW has been assigned the Traffic Engineering functions described under §1017 (a-c) of the Home Rule Charter. The traffic engineering duties include providing advice to the Mayor and the Council related to parking, to traffic movements, studies, and traffic growth projections. The DPW is also responsible for the construction, inspection, and maintenance of traffic control devices including signs and traffic control signals, and parking meters.
The DPW presently consists of seven divisions, which will be further described in the following pages. The seven divisions are: