New Ferries and Ambulance Boat Coming This Year, Says DPW Commissioner

DPW, in conjunction with the Department of Education, hopes to select a contractor this year to begin plans for a new St. John school, according to the commissioner.

St. John ferry companies can count on having two new vessels by the end of the year, according to Department of Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls.

In testimony before the V.I. Senate Committee of the Whole on Wednesday afternoon, February 3, Smalls gave an overview of the department’s capital projects on St. John, including plans to construct a fish market, renovate bus shelters and obtain two new ferry boats.

“During the month of February 2010, the Department of Public Works, Division of Transportation, will publicly advertise an Request For Proposal (RFP)  for the design and construction of two new passenger ferryboats,” said Smalls. “Funding for this endeavor has been realized through the successful grant award of $3 million from the ferryboat discretionary fund, $1.5 million from the

Federal Highway Administration and approximately $600,000 from various FTA grant awards.”

“It is the goal of the department to receive the new vessels during the fourth quarter of 2010,” said Smalls.

DPW officials have received bids for construction of a new ambulance boat to replace the deteriorated Star of Life, and hope to select a vendor by April, Smalls explained.

“The Department of Health, through the Department of Property and Procurement, have solicited bids for a state-of-the-art ambulance boat that will be capable of performing in all types of weather and off-shore conditions,” said Smalls. “Bids have been received and it is anticipated that a vendor will be selected during the first quarter of 2010.”

DPW, in conjunction with the Department of Education, hopes to select a contractor this year to begin plans for a new St. John school, according to the commissioner.

“The Departments of Education and Public Works, the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of the Governor received from the Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs, a grant award in the amount of $200,000 for the development of a new school on the island of St. John,” Smalls said in his testimony before the Senate. “These funds will be utilized to secure the professional services of a contractor to establish program and schematic designs for the school. An RFP will be advertised during the month of February 2010.”

Local fishermen could have a brand new place to sell their wares near the Enighed Pond Marine facility, thanks to a project launched by DPW, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, V.I. Port Authority and the St. John Administrator’s office, Smalls explained.

“DPNR, the V.I. Port Authority and the St. John Administrator have coordinated the development of the St. John fish market,” said Smalls. “Since this project will be situated within the Port Authority’s boundaries, it will be most effective to develop one CZM application which will include both the interim parking solution and the fish market.”

“The final design, which will include plans and specifications, are being finalized before submission to CZM and public bids,” the DPW Commissioner said. “The start of construction is slated for the third quarter of 2010.”

After being delayed for more than two years, DPW expects to make progress on long-planned improvements to the Franklin Powell Park in Cruz Bay, according to Smalls.

“DPW, in collaboration with the St. John Administrator, have completed the final review of the plans and specifications for the development of the Franklin Powell Park revitalizations,” he said.

“Advertisement for bids is planned for the first quarter of 2010. The total funding available for this project is $300,000.”

In addition to the federally funded improvements to South Shore Road, DPW has big plans of its own in 2010 for other Love City thoroughfares, Smalls added.

“During the first quarter of 2010, DPW will commence work on Bordeaux Mountain Road at a cost of $1.2 million,” said Smalls. “During the third quarter of 2010, work will commence on Bethany Road and Kings Hill Road at a cost of $1,075,000.”

VITRAN riders will be able to wait for the bus in comfort this year, Smalls explained.

“Four bus shelters will be renovated on the island of St. John through funds received through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Federal Transit Administration grants,” said the DPW Commissioner. “Stone Masonry Inc. was selected to perform this work at a cost of approximately $150,000. We anticipate that this work will commence during the first quarter of 2010.”
During his testimony, Smalls also said that the Cruz Bay Roundabout project will be competed in 2010, ahead of schedule.

“The roundabout project in Cruz Bay, which began in August of 2008, is a federally-funded project that is 90 percent complete,” said Smalls. “At a cost of $6.9 million, Island Roads Corp. is slated to complete the project during the second quarter of 2010, ahead of schedule.”