North Shore Rehabilitation Underway; First Three Projects Done by November 29

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The new Lind Point overlook will provide a prime view of Cruz Bay.

The rehabilitation of North Shore Road is underway, with the first three sites in the 14 part project planned to be complete by the end of November, according to Lucious Sims, V.I. National Park chief of maintenance.

The $2.8 million North Shore Road Rehabilita-tion Project, funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in cooperation with the VINP to rehabilitate areas of North Shore Road, began Monday, July 11 with the construction of Cruz Bay-Lind Point overlook, according to Sims, the park liaison with the FHWA.

The FHWA awarded Island Roads with the contract, according to Sims, who said the St. Thomas contractor has 460 consecutive days to complete the project, with a completion date of October or November 2006.

Island Roads will be working on three sites at a time along the north shore from Cruz Bay overlook to the intersection at Centerline Road, but the exact order of the work has not been finalized.

The first three improvements on the list, scheduled to be complete November 29, include: site 1, the construction of a stone wall and expansion of the Cruz Bay-Lind Point overlook; site 3, the expansion of the Hawksnest parking area, and site 11, excavation of the slope for roadway realignment and widening of the road for increased sight distance and improved safety on the curve at Penn Point above Maho Bay.

Lind Point, Hawksnest and Penn Point
“Island Roads is in the process of pouring the concrete footings at the Cruz Bay-Lind Point overlook,” said Sims. The Hawksnest project was delayed due to an existing culvert problem, according to the VINP chief of maintenance. “Roots from sea grape trees clogged up the pipes so we had to remove six sections of the pipe and replace them,” said Sims, adding the Hawksnest parking lot is being expanded to divert the water the water and avoid flooding.

Traffic Lights at Penn Point
Taking a drive along the North Shore, one is sure to notice the work Island Roads is doing on the Penn Point hillside between Cinnamon Bay and Maho Bay, where the island’s only (temporary) traffic lights are located.

“There have never been any red lights on St. John, and the contractors had initial concerns whether they would be obeyed,” said Sims. “But we felt the traffic signals would be the most logical way to control traffic on the one-way road.” The temporary one-way road and limited sight distance during construction warrants extra precaution for drivers. “People need to be extra careful to avoid a serious traffic accident with the one-way road closures,” said Sims. “Please be extra careful and obey the traffic signals as you would any other traffic sign.”

Once sites 1, 3 and 11 are complete, work will continue on the north shore. “There are 14 sites in total, but we are not going in sequence,” said Sims, adding that as of the last meeting, Friday, October 7, King’s Hill road connecting to Centerline Road was next on the agenda.

King’s Hill Next
“Next on the list is the last site, King’s Hill by Centerline Road, and the tentative plans are to start there and work back toward Cruz Bay,” said Sims.

The logic behind the planned sequence is an attempt to complete work on highly-trafficked areas before the peak season, December through May, according to the VINP chief of maintenance.

Additional improvements along North Shore Road include: pavement improvements to repair cracking and settlement at various sites; a new low water crossing, excavation and widening of the parking lot and installation of management boulders and signage to control parking at Jumbie Bay; striping the pavement and installing directional arrows, management boulders and signage to control parking at Trunk Bay and installing signage to improve traffic control at the switchback at King’s Hill, removing the trench drain and installing a concrete waterway and a 30-inch pipe, according to Sims.

Maho Boulders on Hold
The project also includes the installation of management boulders to prevent vehicles from damaging natural vegetation at Maho Bay; however, the boulders will not be installed until a separate project to renovate the Maho Bay Pavilion is complete.

The Maho Bay renovation project, which is still in the planning stages, will include the demolition of all but a small section of the existing pavilion’s main building and upon completion will resemble the newly renovated Hawksnest Pavilion project, according the the VINP chief of maintenance.

“The management boulders will not be installed until the renovation of Maho Bay,” said Sims. “The Maho Bay renovation will mirror the Hawksnest project.”