Two Years Later, Still No Repairs To Centerline and Fish Bay Roads


Two years after being damaged by heavy rainfall, portions of Centerline Road, above, and Fish Bay Road have not been repaired by DPW.

Two years after severe weather damaged portions of Centerline Road and Fish Bay Road, Department of Public Works officials have not taken any steps to stabilize the major St. John roadways.

In the initial aftermath of the October 2010 road damage, DPW officials placed orange cones and markers on the undermined portions of the road. Now almost two years later, that is still the only action DPW has taken on Centerline Road and Fish Bay Road.

Far from beginning work on the heavily-travelled roads, DPW has still not even compiled a bid for the project, explained the department’s Program Manager for Construction Marilyn Holmes.

“Federal Highway Administration has to authorize the project because its being funded from their Emergency Repair Fund,” said Holmes. “Federal Highway has to authorize every project that they are going to fund. This project has not gone to Federal Highway yet because we have not gotten a review the from State Historic Preservation Office.”

“We haven’t gotten all of the preliminary reviews completed yet,” said Holmes. “We have to dot all of our ‘i’s’ and cross all of our ‘t’s.’”

While it appears that DPW has done nothing to fix the continually deteriorating roads, the department has in fact done all it can at this stage, according to Holmes.

“We’ve done all our work in that we’ve identified the problem, created the plans, drawn up the documents and contracts and laid out the scope and estimate for the project,” she said. “A situation can happen and you can rush in and do something, but we can’t deal with our federal roads without doing all of the appropriate processes.”

“It has to be designed according to engineering standards and it needs 100 million engineering resolutions,” said Holmes. “It seems like, yes, we haven’t addressed the situation, but there are technical things and from the design to the process of letting the contract, it’s not something that can happen over night.”

The timing of the road damage, which occurred in October 2010 following severe rainstorms, also delayed action on the project, Holmes added.

“The government initially responded to the situation as best they could and funding was not received until this year because this is from the Emergency Fund,” she said. “We have a program where we identify the project for the next year. This occurred in October which would have been the beginning of that fiscal year.”

“So we were not eligible for funding until the next October,” Holmes said.

As far as DPW is concerned, the department’s St. John road repair project is on track, according to Holmes.

“You need funds in order to develop the project,” she said. “So we are on track. Unfortunately two years seems like a long time, but we are in the process and it’s coming soon.”

DPW officials now expect to have the Centerline Road and Fish Bay Road repairs project out to bid sometime in the next three months, Holmes explained.

“As soon as we have the package completed by all the other agencies that we need to have responses from, we’ll send it to Federal Highway for final authorization, and then it will go out to bid,” she said. “It will be out to bid in the next three months.”