Aug. 11, 2008 — Work on the nearly $7 million Cruz Bay roundabout project started Monday when workers demolished a wall adjacent to the Clarice Thomas Annex of the Julius E. Sprauve School.
The Clarice Thomas Annex wall along with the stairs to the Boulon Center and the former Texaco station all will be removed to make way for the roundabout.
According to a press release from Government House, Island Roads Construction will complete the project in 675 calendar days at an estimated cost of $6.9 million.
A contractor on the site who requested anonymity said crews were tearing down the Clarice Thomas Annex wall early in the project because they wanted to get the job done before school starts on Aug. 25 to reduce noise.
Sprauve Assistant Principal Brenda Dalmida isn't convinced that the students won't suffer from the noise.
"It's enough trying to keep them focused with the heat," she said.
Both Sprauve School and the Clarice Thomas Annex are air-conditioned but Dalmida said it doesn't sufficiently filter out the noise.
Education Commissioner LaVerne Terry, on St. John for a pre-back-to-school tour of the island's two schools, said she and Public Works will meet to ensure the contractor keeps the Education Department informed on where the project stands.
Sprauve teacher Clemmie Moses was upset that the workers were tearing down a wall built and paid for by Sprauve School class of 1981.
On Tuesday or Wednesday, the road that runs from the Creek past the Boulon Center to Centerline Road will become one way running from the Creek.
In the near future, the contractor said that the stop sign now sitting at the western end of the Texaco station will be moved east several yards and the triangular section of the property near where the stop sign sat will be paved to facilitate traffic. The Texaco station building won't be torn down for about a year.
"Everything's subject to change," the contractor said.
While the start of the project is expected to cause confusion in Cruz Bay, the contractor said the real mess will come when workers lower Centerline Road in front of Dolphin Market by seven or eight feet. The parking lot in front of Dolphin Market will also be lowered.
"Traffic will go down to one lane," the contractor said.
Some residents aren't convinced St. John actually needs a roundabout.
"Just widen the corner," St. John resident Myrtle Barry said.
Deputy Public Works Director Ira Wade said that the decision to build a roundabout was made by residents about 10 years ago when they were offered several options for solving traffic problems at that spot.
Wade said that traffic does back up in the early morning and between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. He said truck traffic has increased because of St. John's continuing development.
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