As the Cruz Bay roundabout nears completion, terracing has replaced the old Texaco station, above, and lane markers have been erected, below.
Local contractor Island Roads is still expected to finish the Cruz Bay roundabout project ahead of schedule, despite facing delays of several months while waiting for utilities in the area to be buried.
The latest delay encountered during the nearly two year-long construction process occurred when Island Roads had to wait for Innovative to pull its cables, moving telephone and cable television wires underground.
“The V.I. Water and Power Authority is finished pulling their wires and cables, and we’re just waiting on Innovative to do the same,” said Department of Public Works Materials Program Manager Thomas Jones. “Once they get that done, we can move the overhead utilities underground.”
DPW elected to bury all utilities in the area during construction of the roundabout.
Once the utilities are buried, workers are prepared to put down the wearing course, which is the final paving. Island Roads originally considered shutting down the entire intersection and doing the wearing course overnight, as it’s ideal to put down the last coat of pavement all at once; however, it will likely be done in several phases over the course of a few days, explained Jones.
“Although it would be the ideal thing to do, there’s no way we could shut down the whole roundabout,” he said. “We’ll probably do a revolving road closure, and it will be stretched out over a two- to three-day period.”
Aside from the final coat of asphalt, workers only have to put on the roundabout’s finishing touches, including signage instructing motorists how to traverse through the circle.
The old Texaco gas station was removed, and the area has been planted; however, after some input from the community, shade trees and a park bench may be implemented in that area.
Plans for a sidewalk to be constructed along Centerline Road from the Islandia building heading eastward are still in the works, but the sidewalk will likely not be done as part of the roundabout project as previously expected.
“We thought we had more money than we do,” said Jones. “We’re hoping to get the sidewalk in on the safety program project on Route 10, where we’re going to replace signage and repair a lot of the guard rail. The sidewalk project will go forward, it’s just a matter of which project it will be a part of.”
Looking back on the nearly two-year conversion of the confusing five-pronged Cruz Bay intersection to a functional roundabout, Jones said he is pleased with the entire process. DPW encountered minimal complaining and no significant setbacks during construction.
“I am very proud to know that the community was really behind it,” said Jones. “Everybody seemed to have the foresight to put up with the construction because they knew it would be something good in the end. We’ll be glad to be able to turn it back to the public.”
Jones estimated the project would be completed in the next few weeks, likely ahead of the July closure of the contract.