Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp met with V.I. Public Works Department (DPW) personnel this week to prioritize planned road work and to review a list of ongoing and recently completed projects.
Among the priority areas named were Whim Road, Anna’s Hope, Smithfield, Estate Work and Rest, Union and Mt. Washington, Estate Diamond/ Mt. Pleasant and Queen Mary Highway on St. Croix; Centerline Road on St. John; and Raphune Hill, Anna’s Retreat, Estate Tutu, Peterborg and Pilgrim’s Terrace Bypass on St. Thomas.
The governor also announced his approval of a contract on Thursday for major improvements to St. Croix’s Melvin Evans Highway. The work, which includes paving, repairs and safety provisions, will take place from West Airport Road to the Industrial Park Intersection.
V.I. Paving has been contracted to complete the $5.6 million project, fully funded by Federal Highway Administration GARVEE Bonds. The contract calls for the work to be completed within 165 days.
In April, Mapp announced that all the territory’s primary roads would be completely rebuilt to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway standards. Before this massive project begins, the Mapp-Potter Administration is restoring some of the more deplorable roads that require immediate repair. Earlier this year, a full assessment of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ 1,273-mile public road system was conducted to determine conditions after the storms and the estimated cost of a comprehensive rebuilding and repair program. After completion of the assessment, DPW, with the assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, concluded it will cost $1.2 billion to complete the modernization of all of the territory’s roads.
Mapp indicated that more than $530 million has already been identified and will be invested into the first phase of the construction. He said that in three to five years, the Virgin Islands road system will be “virtually unrecognizable.”
“I am committed to modernizing our road system,” he said. “With the support of the federal government and the hard work of many players in the Mapp-Potter Administration, our roads will be completely transformed.”
The new roads will be upgraded with proper foundations and drainage. They will be outfitted with American Disabilities Act-certified sidewalks, reflectors, traffic signals and crosswalks, according to the governor. The roads will also accommodate water, sewage, power lines and fiber optic cables, and will be suitable for various other communication systems.
New street signs will be lit at night and feature the Department of Tourism’s logo of the moko jumbie at the center. In addition to reconstructing the road systems, funds will be set aside to remove all the dumpsters off the roads. In their place, refuse centers will be constructed throughout the territory to support its modernization and beautification. Some of the roads will receive temporary fixes until they can be fully reconstructed. There will also be many areas where DPW will authorize asphalt overlays until permanent construction can begin. Priority areas for roadwork include:
On St. Croix:
Union and Mt. Washington
Estate Diamond/ Mt. Pleasant
Sierra Verde Road Repairs, East End
Queen Mary Highway
Melvin Evan Highway (2 additional segments)
All for the Better Residential Roads, East End
Tipperary Road, East End
Old Castle Coakley Roads
Route 64 – West Airport Road near Cruzan Rum
Route 622 at Estate Work and Rest
Route 63 – Whim Road near the Ballpark
Route 68 from Schuster’s Water Services to Cool Out Bar
Route 681 – Hess Road
Route 707 – Casper Holstein Drive
Clifton Hill Phase 2 (includes roundabout at LaReine Intersection)
Spring Gut Road
On St. Thomas
Pilgrim Terrace Bypass
Fortuna Bay Road
Annas Retreat/ Tutu Neighborhood Roads
Scott Free Road
Raphune Hill Phase 3
On St. John
Estate Adrian (Centerline Road)
Estate Pastory (Centerline Road)