It’s business as usual at the Department of Public Works, which plans to focus on paving a portion of Bordeaux Road and patching potholes, along with supporting the Cruz Bay roundabout and Frank Powell Park projects during 2008.
Work on Route 108 — Bordeaux Road — will begin soon, according to DPW St. John Deputy Director Ira Wade. A segment of the road three-tenths of a mile long will be paved at a cost of over $360,000.
“They’re working on the final stages of the contract, and the agreement could be done within the next few days,” said Wade, who will not reveal the name of the contractor until the agreement is complete. “A contractor has been selected and the money is on hand to pay.”
$150,000 for Potholes
DPW will continue to patch potholes that tend to spring up on island roads, especially during periods of heavy rain which St. John recently experienced. The 2008 budget for fixing potholes is $150,000, although Wade hopes to get another appropriation for the ongoing project.
“We can go a long ways with the $150,000,” said Wade. “Since the work is being done in house, it’s much more economical.”
Crews will be out two to three days a week working on the potholes, several of which were recently paved on the first mile of Centerline Road out of Cruz Bay. DPW will next concentrate primarily on Gift Hill Road between the Susannaberg transfer station and Fish Bay.
“You’ll see we’re doing a lot of work there, and we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Wade. “We’re trying to keep up with the potholes.”
Wade vowed to work next on Longmat Hill, the East End road which is severely pockmarked with potholes and made even more dangerous by continual concrete spills.
Cutting Bush, Striping Roads
“As soon as I get this small pothole patching done, we’ll work on Longmat Hill,” he said. “We have to get all of these potholes that occurred during the last rain done, then we’ll just pop out there and surprise everybody one day.”
Although paving Catherineberg Road is a priority of Wade’s, it’s not on the immediate to-do list, he explained. The DPW St. John deputy director has long talked about paving the road, which connects Centerline Road and North Shore Road, providing a thoroughfare for island traffic.
“We have a new piece of equipment we can use to grade and fill parts of that road as the residents want, but it’s still on my list to one day be paved,” said Wade. “We have to listen to what the Catherineberg residents are saying, but we also have to understand that progress has to be made. The island is bustling with people and tourists, and we need other avenues of travel.”
Crews are also working on cutting bush along local roads, and will repair guard rails and paint striping on Centerline Road by June in an effort to keep the roads safe for residents and tourists.
Frank Powell Park Renovations Still Stalled
DPW officials are still reviewing bids for the Cruz Bay roundabout project, according to Wade. A contractor will be selected by the end of February, with construction slated to begin 45 days after a contractor is chosen. Construction will take approximately two years, and will be phased to allow for the continual passage of traffic through the busy Cruz Bay intersection.
Renovations to the Frank Powell Park, which have been in the works for several years, are not set to begin any time soon, according to Wade. The fine details of the public/private partnership, which is forming between Carlson Construction and the V.I. government, still need to be worked out.
“Administrator Leona Smith, the DPW commissioner and I recently met with the governor, and there were a couple items he asked us to check on, including deciding penalties and a back up plan should one side or the other pull out,” said Wade. “We have to complete that, then get another date to sit and talk with the governor. He wants to get it done; he sees the same thing that we see — the park, at times, is an eyesore.”
Although Wade admits the renovations have taken a long time to come together, he wants to ensure that once work begins, it’s done properly, he explained.
DPW Now Hiring
“We want to get the park done, but we don’t want to get it started and have something happen that would prevent completion or cause controversy,” said Wade. “We have to feel comfortable with the people we’re dealing with. I think overall, from the contract administration point, we have to make sure everything is covered so there’s a clear understanding of what everyone’s responsibilities are.”
One thing DPW is ready for is St. John Festival. The department purchased a stage requiring minimal construction, so crews will only have to focus on building dressing rooms and concession stands to prepare for the monthlong celebration culminating on July 4. The stage will be used at both the Winston Wells ball field and Festival Village, according to Wade.
The St. John DPW is still lacking staff to aid in the completion of its ambitious goals for 2008 — Wade hopes to hire a mason, three heavy equipment operators and a project supervisor. For more information or to apply for a job, call the Susannaberg transfer station at 776-6346.