Gifft Hill, South Shore Road Construction to be First Use of Stimulus Money in Region

Gov. John P. deJongh Jr. headed a list of dignitaries in a ceremonial groundbreaking September 26 on South Shore Road for the territory’s first public works project under the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Called Route 104 St. John Phase II, the 2.8 mile project was contracted to V.I. Paving, a St. Croix company which did major road work in the Coral Bay area several years ago. The project includes road reconstruction, pavement overlay, drainage improvements, guardrails and new signage, according to the Public Works Department.

Gov. deJongh praised the project for “a local contractor employing a local workforce,”

“That puts our local people back to work,” said Gov. deJongh. “But, more than anything, it gives us road improvements that are very necessary,”

“The benefit of that is exactly what President Obama wanted,” added Gov. deJongh, who thanked V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen for her efforts on behalf of the territory. Delegate Christensen was unable to attend, but was represented at the groundbreaking by a staff member.

The U.S. Virgin Islands has received approximately $18 million in FHWA funds for roadway construction and safety improvements under the Obama Administration program.

“We’ve obligated 100 percent of the funds,” deJongh told the audience at the groundbreaking.

V.I. Public Works Commissioner Daryl Smalls said the St. John project addressed some much needed repairt, including to the Guinea Gut crossing between the Westin Resort and Greenleaf Commons apartments which was almost washed out during recent torrential rains.

“This project will haver an impact” on public safety, said Smalls, who promised “to work aggressively to complete projects.”