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Cruz Bay
Tuesday, July 16, 2024


Work on the $1.7 million Christiansted boardwalk extension will begin in mid-October after the active part of hurricane season passes.
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works continues to search for funding to repair damage done to the existing walkway almost a year ago by Hurricane Georges.
In July, the Senate Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection approved the government’s Coastal Zone Management permit to extend the boardwalk from where it ends in King’s Alley 1,450 feet west, toward the Holger Danske Hotel.
According to Neil Watson, special projects coordinator for the Office of the Governor, the project will cost approximately $1.7 million and be funded by the Federal Highway Administration. He said a contractor, R&R Caribbean, has already been approved and plans to start work around Oct. 11.
"In the interest of the contractor in the height of hurricane season, we didn’t want to expose $30 million worth of equipment out there," Watson said.
Maintenance and repair of the boardwalk is the responsibility of Public Works. After Hurricane Georges, however, business owners, not the government, put down plywood patches over gaping holes in the wooden structure. Almost a year later, the temporary patches are still in place.
Public Works Commissioner Harold Thompson said the fund the department would use to cover repair costs was "pretty much depleted" for fiscal year 1999. The 2000 budget hasn’t been approved.
He said the department was looking to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for money.
"We are trying to get federal funding," Thompson said. "That’s the first option and we believe that’s a recoverable cost."
Don Siener, a King’s Alley business owner who put down the plywood patches, said that after Hurricane Georges tourists and passers-by were in danger of stepping into gaping holes.
"We covered it so nobody would break their ankles," he said. "People still tend to trip on (the patches)."
Siener said business owners hope the repairs will be addressed when work on the boardwalk extension begins.
"We’re talking about two hours and maybe $50 worth of materials," he said.
Work on the extension is scheduled to be completed in February, Watson said. By then design work to extend the boardwalk still further west should be completed, he said. Phase II of the project would extend the wooden walkway from the Holger Danske Hotel to the seaplane building near Watergut.
"The design is approximately 90 percent complete for Phase II," Watson said. "We’re close to the point of submitting it for funding."

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