Thanks to $5 million in federal stimulus funds, much-needed repairs to Gift Hill and South Shore Roads are scheduled to begin in just a few weeks.
The repairs will address water flow, a problem that keeps the Department of Public Works on its toes by causing continued damage to local roads.
DPW St. John Deputy Director Ira Wade expected a formal announcement from DPW Commissioner Darryl Smalls within the next week regarding the project’s scope and contractor.
“We’re going to do what we call a ‘three-R’ project on Route 104 from Gift Hill in Susannaberg all the way to the basketball courts in Pine Peace,” said Wade. “We’ll be doing reconstruction, rehabilitation and the reasphalting of the road.”
The project will likely begin with the replacement of culverts at the bridge by the Westin Resort on South Shore Road, according to Wade. The current culverts, which are too small and often cause flooding in the area, will be replaced with four foot box culverts.
Gabion baskets will be installed in the area to reinforce the gut, Wade explained.
“It’s going to look aesthetically pleasing,” he said. “We won’t change the course of the gut.”
During the construction near the Westin, motorists can expect the road to be down to one lane.
“There will be a slight delay, but it shouldn’t take too long,” said Wade.
Traffic will remain open during work on Gifft Hill Road, where flaggers will help direct motorists while crews remove and replace culverts and install swales. The swales will eventually run all the way from Gifft Hill Road at Susannaberg down to the basketball courts in Pine Peace, Wade explained.
“Water is a big issue,” he said. “Replacing the swales will increase the longevity of the road, and reduce the amount of maintenance that we should have to do on the roadway. We’re going to stop water infiltration.”
Approximately two and a half miles of road will be overlayed during the project, Wade added. Work is expected to continue for three to four months; however, the project could be extended due to rain.
Gifft Hill and South Shore Roads will never be closed to traffic during the project.
DPW’s next likely project will be at Bordeaux Mountain Road and King’s Hill Road, Wade explained.
“We just got some money approved to do work there, but it’s still in the planning stages,” he said. “When we do start Bordeaux, we will be trying to tie the entire road network together from east to west.”
Motorists can also expect to see striping on Centerline Road, and Wade is working to secure funding for additional guard rails along that road as well.