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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 16, 2024


The Senate Planning and Environmental Protection Committee will convene to hear testimony Friday on the Turnbull administration's plans for flood control and maintenance of drainage systems. According to a release from Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, the committee chair, one specific thing it will want answers on is the infamous Nadir "bridge to nowhere."
The panel will convene at 10 a.m. in the Senate chambers on St. Thomas. Its wider task will be to assess the government's state of preparedness to deal with flooding in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, Donastorg said.
He also said he expects much of the meeting to focus on the Nadir situation, particularly the 10-foot-deep gut that perennially overflows, flooding the homes built in the area. "It's important that we ensure that the guts have been cleaned and properly maintained before any heavy rains," he said. "It is also essential to have a plan in place in the event of storm conditions."
What the release described as "the multimillion-dollar" Nadir bridge project was undertaken to help alleviate flooding in Nadir, the area so-named because it is low-lying land. But the arched concrete span remains unconnected to a roadway at either end. Donastorg said he has asked the administration "over and over again for an update" on the project. "We desperately need to implement flood-control measures in this area," he said.
In June, Island Resources Foundation conducted community meetings on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix as part of its data-gathering for a report to the government identifying flood plains and recommending flood mitigation measures for the territory. At the St. Thomas meeting, longtime residents noted that a system of dams and diversion ponds once functioned effectively to control the flow of water run-off from the high ground of Donoe and Tutu down through Turpentine Run to Nadir.
Over decades, they said, the spillways became filled with silt and debris to the point where the system no longer functioned. Many said it would make more sense to restore the system now than to try to solve Nadir's flood problems with the "bridge to nowhere."

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