Department of Public Works employees aren’t slowing down just because it’s slow season. The DPW crew has been busy patching potholes and paving island roads.
The department patched more than 150 potholes during the month of September, explained DPW St. John Deputy Director Ira Wade.
“We had our crew out every day, patching potholes Monday through Friday,” said Wade.
DPW workers have also finished paving the Bethany Lower Road, or Route 102, which is now open from the Bethany Moravian Church to the top of Jacob’s Ladder. The Bethany Upper Road remains unpaved.
“It was a dirt road, and over the last two years we’ve been able to get it paved,” said Wade of the lower road. “It saves you a lot of time if you’re trying to get over into the Pine Peace area.”
The real benefits of the paving job will be seen once construction on the roundabout in Cruz Bay begins, explained Wade.
“It’ll take a lot of traffic off Centerline Road, so those people going into town won’t have to come straight down Centerline,” he said.
DPW has also been paving King’s Hill Road and Bordeaux Road, according to Wade who said he hopes Catherineberg Road connecting Centerline and North Shore Road will be next.
“We’re doing the lower section of Kings Hill Road in Coral Bay now, so you’ll be able to travel almost a mile on that road,” said Wade. “Our priority is to try to get Bordeaux Road and Kings Hill Road completed, and then the Catherineberg Road. We’re also looking for funds to do the Gift Hill Road that goes to Chocolate Hole.”
Funds to patch the potholed Gift Hill Road have been requested, Wade added. DPW will be notified of how much funding it will receive once Governor John deJongh approves the FY2008 budget.
“We have plans to utilize the money, but we can’t do anything until we know that it’s available,” said Wade.
Also on DPW’s agenda is dealing with concrete spills on the East End, which have disfigured the road, making it extremely difficult to navigate.
The island’s two concrete companies are cooperating with DPW in an effort to keep the road clean, explained Wade.
East End “Really a Problem”
“It’s a matter of patience and working with the concrete companies, who have been very good about working with us,” he said.
Cleaning concrete from the road is a continual process, Wade added.
“We want to try to get it done as soon as possible, but there are certain things we have to do in order to do it right,” he said.
“We could throw patches any day, but that’s not a remedy to the problem. This is not something we’ll clear up in a matter of minutes, but we will get it cleared up.”
The only real solution to keeping the road clean is to halt all concrete hauling, Wade explained. The DPW St. John deputy director has worked with the concrete companies to reduce the amount of concrete each truck hauls.
“They’re already down to hauling seven yards at a time, which means the consumer pays more,” said Wade. “We’ve talked about reducing it further, but the steepness of that hill doesn’t really offer any protection, because all the concrete comes to the back of the truck. It’s really a problem.”