Created on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 05:27
Written by Jaime Elliott
A section of Centerline Road near the Estate Upper Carolina subdivision, left, initially damaged more than three years ago, has been passable in only one lane for more than six months.
More than three years after a portion of Centerline Road was undermined — and following months of promises from the Department of Public Works — nothing has been done to stop the island’s sole road connecting Cruz Bay and Coral Bay from continuing to crumble.
As heavy rains lashed St. John last week many residents feared Centerline Road would be washed out completely.
“The work was supposed to be started in October and the funds were supposedly in place,” said one resident who commutes from Coral Bay to Cruz Bay on Centerline Road. “I feel enraged and lied to. And it’s really scary especially with all the rain we’ve been having.”
Several sections of Centerline Road and at least one section of Fish Bay Road were undermined by heavy rains during Tropical Storm Otto in October 2010. DPW crews on St. John placed orange cones near the worst sections of Centerline Road and Fish Bay Road as officials applied for Federal Highway Administration funds to fix the roadway.
Two years of delays were blamed on the lengthy FHA applications process, according to DPW Commissioner Darryl Smalls.
Heavy rains this past May sent a section of Centerline Road near the Estate Upper Carolina subdivision tumbling down the Carolina Valley hillside. Since then, the partially blind corner has been passable only in one lane.
Following months of pleas and petitions, in July DPW officials installed signage and speed bumps on either side of the compromised roadway and erected a berm around the crumbling section of Centerline Road.
DPW’s plans, specifications and estimates for the road repair project were finally approved by FHA on May 23. Bid packages for the estimated $1 million project were issued in mid-June and initially due by July 16. That deadline was extended an extra 60 days and DPW finally chose Island Roads as the contractor in August.
Read more: Rains Raise Fears of Centerline Road Collapse as DPW Continues to Drag Feet