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Cruz Bay
Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Nov. 28, 2001 When the road construction project is completed in 2004, the widened roads in Havensight and Long Bay that pass through Mandela Circle should be able to handle enough vehicles to prevent the massive traffic jams that choke the area today.
"We feel that this will be a rather significant improvement," said Zoltan Bocsay, the senior project manager for the URS Corp., which designed the road-widening project.
At a public hearing about the construction project Wednesday evening, about 35 people looked over the maps and heard details of the $10-$15 million project, which will be funded by federal highway money. The project is slated to begin in the spring of 2003 and to take about 18 months to complete.
Plans call for the widening of the Long Bay Road from Mandela Circle to Lover's Lane from the present two lanes to four lanes. Centerline Road from near the Long Bay Kmart to Mandela Circle will be expanded to three lanes, with one lane designated for vehicles turning right at Mandela Circle toward Charlotte Amalie.
Frenchman's Bay Road from Mandela Circle to the entrance to the Havensight Mall will be widened to four lanes, with a traffic signal at the mall entrance that will be synchronized with the light at Mandela Circle.
The project will include sidewalks along all three roads, improved drainage to avoid the flooding common in the area during heavy rains, new bus stops and landscaping plans, Bocsay said as he pointed to maps showing the project designs.
Although some of the details have yet to be worked out such as acquiring several of the properties that will be needed to expand the rights-of-way, landscaping matters and questions of access to some private properties several people at the meeting said they supported the project and its goal of addressing serious traffic problems in the area.
For cruise ship passengers, the route along Long Bay Road toward town is the first impression they get of St. Thomas. That impression is not the best possible at present, with the destroyed buildings of the old Yacht Haven Hotel and the severe traffic congestion.
The project designers noted that the roads would not be the perfect solution when they are done, but that they should be able to handle enough traffic so as not to see serious backups anymore.
That's good news for some business leaders in the Havensight area.
"We support the project in general," said Ed Thomas, the president of the West Indian Company, which runs the Havensight docks. He said WICO officials have been screaming for years to improve the traffic conditions.
But several people also raised concerns.
Torgen Johnson of Paradigm Designs, which is designing the plans for the proposed rebuilding of the Yacht Haven hotel and marina, said the road construction proposal did not take into account the plans for the rebuilt Yacht Haven. He said the hotel planners would need to work with the road designers to address issues such as access and the aesthetics of the area.
Jason Budsan, a board member of the League of Women Voters, said that he did not believe the project would be necessary if more effort was put into public transportation and if the idea of using water taxis could become reality.
Other speakers at the meeting said they hoped serious thought would be put into the landscaping of the area to make it pleasing to the eye, that the streetlighting would not be too harsh or intrusive for the residents of the Paul M. Pearson housing community and that there would be enough crosswalks and sufficient drainage.

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