So as many of you know, there is a section of Centerline Road out near Coral Bay that is in desperate need of repairs. This particular stretch of roadway was damaged during a hurricane a few years back and has yet to be fixed.
Back in June, Darryl Smalls, the commissioner of Public Works, announced that the roadway would be fixed by February 2014. Smalls indicated at the time that bids would go out immediately and that repairs would start in September.
People were outraged. Many said, back then, that eight months was simply not acceptable and that repairs needed to begin quicker. Many people voiced concerns about the potential for future damage, which could possibly knock out the main road between Coral Bay and Cruz Bay. (Yes, Bordeaux Mountain Road could be used as an alternative, but I can’t imagine that it’s passable to all types of vehicles.)
As a result, curbs were installed around the area of roadway that was weakened and damaged, and speed bumps were installed nearby. It was a nice, temporary fix until work began in September.
Well September came and went with no work occurring. October passed too, as did November. We’re now two weeks into December and no work has begun. So what’s the deal? We’ve contacted Darryl Smalls and the Public Works department on numerous occasions but have yet to receive a response.
Well it seems like the folks over at the St. John Tradewinds shared in our frustration as they wrote a pretty good story about the situation the other day. Their concern, like ours, is that the massive amount of rain that has fallen lately could potentially wash out a larger portion of the road. As it stands now, only one lane is passable in the area. The Tradewinds also put together a timeline that shows just how long this project has been taking despite the fact that the money to repair it seems to be there. Here’s what they had to say:
- “(The first) two years of delays were blamed on the lengthy FHA applications process, according to DPW Commissioner Darryl Smalls.”
- “DPW’s plans, specifications and estimates for the road repair project were finally approved by FHA on May 23. Bid packages for the estimated $1 million project were issued in mid-June and initially due by July 16. That deadline was extended an extra 60 days and DPW finally chose Island Roads as the contractor in August.”
- “DPW Commissioner Smalls pledged that work on the crumbling section of Centerline Road would begin no later than the end of October, a date which passed with no sign of road repair activity.”
- “In early November, Smalls blamed the delay on unspecified legal issues with the government contract. At that time, the DPW Commissioner said the contract would be executed ‘any day.’ ‘I anticipate the contract to be executed and signed any day,’ Smalls said the first week of November.”
(Click here to read the full article.)
I don’t know about you, but this is all pretty frustrating. I was thinking about Steve Kosiba the other day and how his passionate email about the location of a newly installed “NO” sign (which was seen on the St. John Spice Cam) prompted the sign’s removal. I think in this situation we all need to take a cue from Mr. Kosiba and contact Darryl Smalls. Maybe a bunch of emails and calls will get things moving faster.
For those of you interested, here is his contact information:
Darryl A. Smalls, Commissioner
6 thoughts on “Centerline Road Repairs: What’s the Holdup?”
Sounds like Mr. Smalls is unaccountable. I also hear there is an issue with Fish Bay Road that he has ignored as well. Always seemds to be someone esle’s fault; FHA, legal issues……blah, blah, blah. Totally unacceptable.
Leaving “island time” arguments aside for now, Darryl is in a “no win situation” politically the best I can see and read and experienced these past 15 years around de rock…
My suggestion is that we go above the USVI local political structure, and flood Donna Christiansen’s office with emails and calls as well asking for legislative oversight of the FEDERAL funds allotted….and more important, allegations that Darryl Smalls is using for explanations of delays….
Here is her contact info:
Thanks for the update. I hope that you continue to right about the lack of repair until something gets accomplished. I took your advice and emailed Mr Smalls. Hopefully more people do the same.
I’m not an engineer, but wouldn’t it seem that those speed bumps cause more added vibration to an already unsafe ground underneath? I spent a good part of the summer going back and forth over those, and with more rain, and heavy trucks and cars, it would only seem inevitable that eventually the ground will give way. Someone better start a ferry service between Cruz and Coral.
Mr Smalls :
Is it going to take a loaded school bus to go flying off the road to start fixing things. Get off you island a*** and get this fixed now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m certain Mr. Smalls will not care about the impact on tourist’s decisions but this will be the first time since 1990 that we will not be coming to SJ for two weeks in March. We always stay in Coral Bay and were unwilling to take the chance of further road damage during the 2013 hurricane season making the access unsafe or impossible. Silly? Perhaps. It’s going to be bizarre not to be there. But we thought it through and will be trying a different island this year. Who knows–we may find a new paradise. So sad that incompetence and/or politics has such a broad impact.