74.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesFrequently Flooded White Bay Roads Finally Getting Fixed

Frequently Flooded White Bay Roads Finally Getting Fixed

Sept. 11, 2007 — The wait is finally over for residents of White Bay in Frederiksted, as roads that would morph into swimming pools after heavy rains are now getting paved and fitted with gutters and drainage culverts.
“I feel good,” said a resident of the area, echoing the sentiments of many other homeowners. "Everybody feels good here."
The private homes lining the three streets getting paved have endured years of road flooding so severe that only large trucks or small boats could cross. The situation was especially bad for school children trying to make it to class after a rainfall. Pools of stagnant water created breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
Residents expressed relief at the sight of machinery laying gravel and beginning paving.
“Work began three weeks ago,” said Roberto Cintron, assistant commissioner of the Department of Public Works, who was overseeing the project Tuesday. Cintron said 2,000 feet of road on each of the three streets will be paved.
The streets, for which residents have yet to designate names, are located just south of the Walter I.M. Hodge Pavilion housing community. The northernmost street has never been paved. The gravel base has been laid. A new curb and gutter lines one side. It will receive a four-inch layer of asphalt.
The other two streets will be repaved, but the last street — which runs directly in front of the Arthur A. Richards Junior High School — will need extra work, Cintron said: “It’s the worst road.”
Public Works will install drainage culverts in this section because water runoff gathers there. Runoff from the school worsens the problem. Pipes to complete the job are on order, Cintron said.
The project is estimated at more than $1 million, according to Cintron. The Senate initially appropriated $700,000 for the job, but the contractor, V.I. Asphalt Products Company, determined that extensive drainage and grading work was necessary. The Legislature then appropriated an additional $490,000.
The project’s task order was “open ended,” and the department will continue to monitor the progress, Cintron said. “Assuming there are no delays, we can finish the project in a month or a month and a half,” he said.
There are no plans at this time to install sidewalks, Cintron noted. “The cost of concrete will drive the cost up tremendously,” he said.
Residents can thank community activist George Flores for keeping the pressure on the Legislature and Public Works. Flores said residents came to him for help after he championed the resurfacing of roads in other communities. The media exposure was instrumental in getting the job done, he said.
“The media exposure makes things move, it’s the key,” Flores said. “The big boys up there don’t like to hear this.”
He has been pushing for this project for more than two years. During that time, he has invited press, senators and other official to observe the conditions of the roads — sometimes after heavy rains to see the large pools of water. Among those who came was Gov. John deJongh Jr.
“The governor has been here twice, once before he was elected and once after,” Flores said. “He said he would take care of it.”
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.