Contruction Continues on North Shore Road, Completion Date Slightly Delayed

“Management boulders” have been installed along the North Shore Road at Trunk Bay in the V.I. National Park to control parking and prevent damage to vegetation.

Work is continuing on the $2.8 million North Shore Road Rehabilitation Project and is now expected to be completed in December of this year.

The project, which began last July, was originally to be finished in mid-October 2006. The delay is being blamed on various setbacks, including a lack of materials due to last season’s hurricanes and a difficulty in obtaining concrete. Work is currently being done at two sites—the Cruz Bay overlook at Lind Point and Penn Point at Maho Bay, where a one-lane road is managed by the only traffic lights on St. John. The Cruz Bay overlook portion of the road project, originally scheduled to be completed last November, is now set to be finished by early March, according to Jerry Runyon, project engineer with the Federal Highway Administration’s Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division.

“We’re doing the stonework now, and that’s going to take some time, because we’re doing the stone walls like other walls in the park,” he said.

Making Turns Safer
The project emphasis is currently on Penn Point, which was supposed to be finished before the holiday season. Work at this site includes widening the turn by cutting into the bank and adding a timber guardrail.

“The (V.I. National) Park was saying that people were running off the road there,” said Runyon. “There were some complaints about the edge of the road being too close to the bank.”

Although there have been isolated incidents of vandalism and thefts of generators, Runyon is optimistic that the widening of the road at Penn Point will be completed by mid-March.

The next project on the list will likely be the repair of the eastbound lane between Peter Bay and Cinnamon Bay.

One-Lane Traffic
The road will be reduced to one lane and regulated with traffic lights, similar to the approach at Penn Point.

“We’ll be getting rid of dips in the road and evening out the surface,” said Runyon. “We want to stabilize the roadway so that it doesn’t sink anymore.”

Scheduled to begin some time in May is the rehabilitation of the hairpin turn at King’s Hill, near Annaberg.

This project will consist of repaving and stabilizing both lanes, and will involve the use of traffic lights and one-lane traffic.

The last time work was done on North Shore Road was around 1990.

“It’s amazing how long the road has held up,” said Runyon. “Since then, there’s been more heavy traffic on that road, with construction traffic and water trucks. The traffic load was not envisioned to be like this—it was supposed to be more like a park, not a residential construction area.”

The overall purpose of the North Shore Road Rehabilitation Project is to do patchwork where there are dips in the road, and to stabilize the road and shoulder.

Management Boulders
Management boulders are being installed at several sites to prevent damage to foliage by parked cars, and many are already in place.

Runyon said that the entire road will be resurfaced once the rehabilitation project is complete.