83.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesTrees Removed for Road Project Will Get Replaced Elsewhere, Officials Say

Trees Removed for Road Project Will Get Replaced Elsewhere, Officials Say

April 11, 2008 — The removal of several trees along Long Bay Road has sparked an outcry, but Department of Public Works officials say new trees will be planted around the area or in other parts of the island.
The trees were removed to help facilitate the completion of Phase I of the Long Bay Road project, and were identified for removal during the original permitting process, said Wystan Benjamin, the department's highway program manager. Four trees across from Pueblo Supermarket were removed within the last two weeks to make way for utility lines and a new sidewalk, Benjamin said Friday.
One of the trees was cut last Friday evening, with work beginning around 9 p.m. to protect motorists from falling branches or other impediments, he said. Over the past few weeks, Public Works has worked with experts from UVI's Corporate Extension Service, who said this particular tree — located next to Blockbuster Video — was in a state of "distress" and in "jeopardy of falling down" during a storm, Benjamin explained.
"Many of these trees have not been maintained over the years," he said. "When they were first planted, our population was not anywhere near what it is now. But as the society grew, and more development started to come about, many of the trees sustained damage from things like hurricanes, or passing trucks that hit the branches or trunk."
The first phase of the project was launched last November, and includes the reconstruction of Centerline Road (which runs past Vitraco Park and Pueblo Supermarket), the installation of box culverts near Mandela Circle, and the conversion of Veterans Drive into a four-lane highway. The box culvert will take waste from eastern Frenchman's Bay to the western side, and will eventually tie into a waste-disposal system that leads to the ocean.
The removal of six more mahogany trees near Wendy's Restaurant is also scheduled within the next three weeks, Benjamin added. However, for each mahogany tree removed during the process two more will be planted in its place, according to Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls.
"If the trees cannot be relocated around the same area, then we will plant them somewhere else where they can be visible and properly maintained," Smalls said Friday. "In our stakeholders meetings — discussions with business, agencies and residents located in the area — we have talked about getting everyone to pitch in and help with the pruning and all-around maintenance on the trees. We have also been getting a lot of calls from residents interested in donating mahogany trees for us to plant."
Some of the trees scheduled for removal might also be "saved and replanted" later on, Benjamin said.
The next phases of the project will extend past Havensight and up Frenchman's Bay Road, and are scheduled for completion in the spring of 2011. Road improvements include the burial of utility lines, the installation of temporary traffic signals and the construction of sidewalks throughout the area. The project is currently being subsidized by about $20 million in federal funds earmarked for the territory over the past decade. (See "Two Decades Down the Road, Officials Kick Off Long Bay Project.")
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.