April 2, 2003 – The Public Works Department expects to have a roundabout operational by 2004 at the Cruz Bay intersection where the Texaco gas station now stands, highway engineering director Aloy Nielsen said at a meeting Wednesday at the Legislature Building on St. John.
Public Works considered installing signals at the busy intersection of five streets, Nielsen said, but computer models and analysis indicated that a roundabout would be safer and more efficient.
The department has the project on its front burner because the Port Authority's planned Enighed Pond commercial port will increase the number of tractor-trailers using that intersection. Often, the big trucks now have to back and fill to get around the point where the gas stations sits, tying up traffic.
The roundabout will be 96 feet in diameter, with an additional 18-foot area within the turning area for trucks that need extra space to turn (shown as maroon in the illustration). The asphalt road will be 20 feet wide.
The project will eliminate the gas station, which Nielsen said the government will acquire by eminent domain.
Robert O'Connor Jr., who has a lease with Texaco to operate the station, was philosophical about its coming removal. "It's progress," he said, adding that he hopes the station will relocate elsewhere, although so far there is no game plan.
Nielsen said Public Works would help Texaco find another spot.
He said the stairs on the road side of the Boulon Center will have to be moved, and the Clarice Thomas Annex of Julius E. Sprauve School will lose a small piece of land. There will be no impact on the bandstand or the Sprauve School shop. The Centerline Road grade will be reduced to about that of Route 104 on the opposite side of the gas station.
Handicapped-accessible pedestrian walkways will cross the streets outside of the roundabout.
Andromeada Childs, one of about a dozen people who attended the meeting, said she could not visualize a roundabout in such a small town as Cruz Bay. "This will be in scale with Cruz Bay," Nielsen promised.
Public Works and a Miami engineering firm hired for this project, Edwards and Kelcey, are planning as far ahead as 2022. "It will be at about 83 percent of capacity by then," said Adriano I. Foti, head of highway engineering at Edwards and Kelcey.
The roundabout will be fuel efficient, Foti said: In one hour, cars using the roundabout would consume 42.1 gallons of fuel, whereas if there were signals at the intersection, the same cars would use 108.1 gallons in an hour.
The project is to be fully funded by the Federal Highway Administration.
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