Only a single lane of traffic can pass one of the several eroded sections of Centerline Road.
A full three years after Tropical Storm Otto damaged sections of Centerline and Fish Bay Roads, Department of Public Works officials have still not executed a contract to repair the heavily traveled roadways.
But residents can expect to see work begin soon, according to DPW Commissioner Darryl Smalls.
“As I previously stated, work was supposed to commence in the month of September,” said Smalls. “However, the contract has not been executed. It is still going through the legal process.”
“I have been assured that the contractor has been mobilizing already,” Smalls said. “He has begun getting the material in place and he is prepared to commence as soon as we have a fully executed contract.”
While Smalls did not have the information available during his interview with St. John Tradewinds, he previously stated that the contract was for a little more than $1 million and was granted to Island Roads Corporation.
Once repairs begin, the DPW Commissioner estimated that the work would take about 180 days and would not entail closing Centerline Road, the sole roadway which connects the hubs of Cruz Bay and Coral Bay.
Smalls also could not answer if the damaged section of Fish Bay would be included in this round of road work, he explained.
“I can’t answer that,” the commissioner said, and explained that he did not have that information on hand.
The Fish Bay Road section was initially included in the overall Federal Highway Administration funded road repair project, but officials have not shared information about the area in several months.
The road work will address several areas of Centerline Road, including the most heavily damaged section near the Upper Carolina subdivision turnoff, which has been passable by only a single lane since May.
Heavy rains during Tropical Storm Otto in October 2010, initially weakened several sections of Centerline Road and the section of Fish Bay Road. In the wake of that initial damage, DPW crews did little but place orange cones near the weakened areas.
Two and a half years later, heavy rains this past May sent a section of Centerline Road crumbling down the hillside. Days later, larger cones appeared and orange barriers were placed in the area.
As the hole grew larger, with repairs delayed due to strict FHA application requirements, residents circulated petitions, gathered near the area to get signatures and demanded safety improvements on the single lane, partially blind corner.
In June, signs announcing a single lane ahead were erected on either side of the affected area and in July officials installed speed bumps and an asphalt berm around the most severely eroded area to direct water away from the hole.
DPW’s plans, specifications and estimates for the project were finally approved by FHA on May 23. Bid packages were issued in mid-June and initially due by July 16. That deadline was extended and Island Roads was chosen as the contractor in August.
While work was set to begin last month, DPW Commissioner Smalls said residents should see work “any day.”
“The contract should be executed any day,” said Smalls.