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Repairs, Repaving in the Works for Route 65

June 18, 2007 — Relief is on the way for motorists traversing dangerous road conditions on Route 65, government officials said Monday.
"This road is a hazard," said Public Works Director of Engineering Roberto Cintron. "We need to deal with this now."
Cintron, along with St. Croix Administrator Pedro Encarnacion and community activists George Flores and Percival Edwards, gathered in the noonday sun at the request of Sen. Neville James to get a firsthand look at the road condition and assure the public that relief was in sight.
Route 65, which was named by the 26th Legislature for Crucian philanthropist Casper Holstein, was recently paved to serve as an alternate road while the Midland Road is under construction. The road serves as a major connection between the North Shore Road to the east and the Queen Mary Highway and the Melvin Evans Highway to the south. It is a popular secondary road that bypasses several stoplights between La Reine and Upper Love. The road begins at the National Guard Armory and continues to the Paradise intersection. A secondary road intersects it midway, allowing access to the Glyn/Mon Bijou area.
"We never anticipated the volume of traffic that would take advantage of this road," James said. The heavy traffic means it is a crucial road that alleviates traffic congestion at other main intersections on the island, he said.
The Legislature is poised to appropriate $650,000 to reconstruct the road, adding adequate drainage to accommodate storm-water runoff. "We are continuing to work with the administration and Public Works to improve the infrastructure on St. Croix," James said. Other roads on St. Croix will not be neglected, he said, adding that Public Works has a comprehensive plan to repair many neighborhood roads.
When the road was surfaced in 2006 by former Acting Public Works Commissioner George Phillips, it was the first time it was paved, Edwards noted. The road was first cut under Danish rule more than 269 years ago, he said. Situated next to the Bethlehem Sugar Factory, it served as a main hub for the island's economy.
"It was a case of good intentions gone bad," Cintron said. "We went a little thin on the asphalt, and now the road is buckling in places and collapsing in others."
Crews will be in the area shortly performing temporary work, shaving down the protrusions until the reconstruction begins, he said.
At one point in the road's center, the buckled asphalt protrudes almost a foot from the surface. While dodging potholes caused from inadequate drainage, some vehicles have to come to a complete stop where parts of the road are impassable. Adding to the dangerous conditions is the complete absence of streetlights, forcing night drivers to navigate in pitch-black conditions.
"The administration is willing to do what needs to be done to alleviate this situation," said Encarnacion, speaking on behalf of Gov. John deJongh Jr. "We want to make sure the residents know we are working on it so it becomes a reality."
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