Despite Delay, Cruz Bay Roundabout Construction Still Ahead of Schedule

Construction of the Cruz Bay roundabout has been slightly delayed thanks to difficulty coordinating with Innovative and V.I. Water and Power Authority, but despite these delays, the project will still be finished ahead of the contract’s closing date in June.

The holdup came during one of the final phases of burying utilities, in the area of the Winston Wells ball field.

“We’re halfway done there,” said Department of Public Works Program Manager Thomas Jones. “We’ve got the first pole done, which is all Innovative stuff, and WAPA will go down to the next pole heading westbound. We’ll be running conduit to the next pole down from there, and the sidewalk is going to raise up also.”

The sidewalk at the ball field’s bleachers should be completed within the next week, and crews are working hard to finish the sidewalk at the Julius E. Sprauve School annex on South Shore Road, Jones added.

The utility and sidewalk work represent the last major phases of construction at the roundabout project, which began in August 2008. During the final stretch, motorists should expect frequent, but minor, traffic disruption at the site.

“The only traffic disruption will be in the area of the ball field for the next three weeks,” said Jones. “We’ll have flaggers, and appropriate signs will be up. There will just be minor road closures here and there.”

Once the utility and sidewalk work is complete, contractor Island Roads has several odds and ends to finish up, including ringing the exterior of the roundabout with concrete curbs and gutters, and tearing down the old Texaco gas station, which has served as the contractor’s office during the construction process.

“Once the gas station is gone, it will be like a grassy knoll,” Jones said of the space where the building currently stands.

The center of the circle will be finished with stamped concrete in the traditional Danish yellow color found on historic buildings in the territory, at the urging of the State Historic Preservation Office, Jones explained.

Traffic signs which were installed at the roundabout several weeks ago have greatly improved traffic flow, according to Jones.

“It used to be like a freefall there,” said Jones. “People didn’t understand how it really works. We’re really happy to have the signs in place.”

Jones originally predicted the project would be complete in December 2009, but the difficulties coordinating with the utility companies have pushed the estimated completion date back a few months.

“We’re still way ahead of the original finish date of June 2010,” said Jones. “No matter what, we’ll be out of there before the contract ends. It would be nice if we could have the place cleaned up and turn it back over to the public by the end of March.”