The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority has announced that work on St. Croix’s first electrical underground project will commence on Sept. 21.
Undergrounding of equipment in and around the Wilfred “Bomba” Allick Port and Transshipment Center (Container Port) at Krause Lagoon is a $2.5 million federally-funded project with financial resources provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD). J. Benton Construction Inc is the contractor on the project, which aims to provide critical facilities on the southside Container Port with electrical equipment that is less vulnerable to hurricanes and windstorms. The work entails trenching and conduit installation.
Interim Executive Director Noel Hodge said Friday that the Authority is excited about beginning construction on this very important mitigation project on St. Croix.
“The undergrounding of facilities in critical areas is key during storm restoration and other emergencies. The ports are critical to the movement of materials and supplies into the territory after a disaster and providing facilities that can lead to more efficient power restoration, bodes well for the future,” Hodge said.
Hodge explained that in April, WAPA broke ground on this and two similar underground electrical projects in Golden Grove and Midland, and it is now set to proceed with the start of construction on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Upon completion, facilities such as the Gordon A. Finch Molasses Pier and associated buildings, V.I. Port Authority docks and warehouses and other nearby facilities will be serviced by underground electrical equipment.
As with similar electrical undergrounding across the territory, the Container Port project will replace existing overhead electrical lines and equipment with underground equipment. “This lessens damage from future hurricanes and windstorms and also ensures more efficient service restoration in the aftermath of a natural disaster,” Hodge said.
Motorists are advised that beginning Tuesday, the impacted areas will begin at the intersection of the Melvin H. Evans Highway, turn onto the Container Port Road and run southward on Route 75. The flow of traffic will be affected along the Container Port Road. Motorists traversing the work areas should be mindful of and adhere to posted directional signs. Additionally, flaggers will be present along the roadway to assist with traffic control.
Similar electrical undergrounding projects are slated for St. Thomas and St. John as part of a larger strategic transformation of the territory’s electrical and water utility.