Do you remember my mentions of the underground power line construction in front of Mongoose Junction and Grand Bay last month? Well, that construction is hitting the road…and moving to another part of town just in time for the holidays.
Yesterday, Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) released a post on their Facebook page stating that the underground electrical project, this phase of which spans from Frank Bay to Mongoose Junction, would be moving onto King Street in Cruz Bay on November 10, 2021.
The one way street that wraps around from the stop sign in front of St. John Car Rentals past Lime Inn and Dave & Jerry’s Steakhouse and into the center of town is scheduled to be closed to motor traffic from November 10 through December 1. Yes, that’s right…a major thoroughfare in downtown Cruz Bay that is the major exit access point from the ferry dock will be closed to through traffic over the Thanksgiving holiday. Can you sense my “Ummmmm, what?” in this statement?
WAPA’s underground power line project will likely pose a lot of inconveniences over the next few years, all in the name of progress and resilient energy. But the planning and scheduling surrounding this particular aspect of it has me pondering whether or not hiring a city planner for St. John might be a good thing to throw into the budget for next year.
WAPA ensured in their post that accommodations would be made to rental car companies and other businesses that require access and that alternate routes would be available for through traffic. I have not seen an official statement from them yet, but I would imagine that the street running from Woody’s straight down to the ferry will be either controlled by flaggers or in a “reverse” one way direction. I’m still waiting on a call back on the plans on that, but I’ll cruise by tomorrow so I can get you the info in an island update later this week.
For those of you traveling to St. John over the next few weeks, here are a few pointers for avoiding the back up created by the construction:
Avoid it all together- If you have a vehicle, contemplate parking at the Lumberyard or the gravel lot. Both are paid parking areas but will be well worth the cost in lieu of the head ache of the traffic backup. Please consider NOT utilizing any free parking in town during this time of construction. It’s going to be more of a hassle than it normally is for locals to find parking so they can go to work, pick up their mail, etc. If you don’t have a rental vehicle or you are okay with leaving it at home (that’s the smartest option!), take a taxi. The contact for your accommodations should be able to provide you with a few numbers to call.
Go around it- At that stop sign I mentioned, the one in front of St. John Car Rental, if you take a right towards Gallow’s Point, there is an alternate route out of town. But it is likely going to be extremely congested during peak ferry pick up times (about :15-:40 after the hour). To do this, go right at the stop sign, go just past Gallows and Lavendar Hill and take a left at the crest of the hill before descending into Frank Bay. It’s very narrow and residential, so please exercise caution. At the end of the road (the T, if you will), take a left and that steep and bumpy hill (Hill Street) will get you down into town right behind Tap & Still. Again, this hill winds down right past the school, so please be on the lookout for kids and adults on the roads.
Visit the businesses on King Street- Dave & Jerry’s Island Steakhouse, The Lime Inn and the shops and galleries and other businesses on King Street will be open to foot traffic during this time. Please do pay the businesses a visit while you are here!
Again, I would imagine that they will provide an alternate route around the ferry pick up area, but that is purely speculation. If they do, it will likely be super backed up during peak traffic times, especially during the holiday week. I, personally, will be avoiding the area as much as possible in my vehicle during these times in an attempt to lessen the congestion 🙂
And, as always: Keep Left. Drive Slow. And keep an eye out for pedestrian traffic and the local wildlife.