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Public Works Addresses Enighed Pond Lot, Centerline Road

Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls hopes to open at least a portion of the Enighed Pond parking lot before the entire lot is up to snuff, he said Saturday.

“I’m going to work aggressively this week,” he said.

The parking lot has been sitting nearly completed for more than a month while the contractor wraps up work. This has angered many residents who drive around Cruz Bay looking for a parking space. The parking situation is so dire that Gov. John deJongh Jr. sent out a press release April 1 saying that “punch list” items were not yet done.

The lot sits on V.I. Port Authority land adjacent to the Enighed Pond Marine Terminal, with the Port Authority and Public Works both involved in the project. Public Works paid the $998,450 tab and will manage the lot.

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Smalls said that since his department has a good working relationship with contractor Wharton Smith, he’ll be able to reach an agreement with the company to open a portion before all work is complete.

At issue for Smalls is a drainage problem on the road at one corner of the parking lot. It isn’t flooding now, but in heavy rains, the water gets deep.

There are other issues, but last week V.I. Port Authority spokesman Monifa Marrero said that Public Works would answer any questions on the matter. While Smalls had some answers, he said that other issues were in the Port Authority’s domain.

Among them was the issue of the fence around the parking lot. St. John Administrator Leona Smith said that according to Homeland Security rules, the fence has to be eight feet high. She said Port Authority ordered one that sits six feet high, making it two feet too short.

Smalls also addressed the issue of damage done in October 2010 on Centerline Road during the heavy rains associated with Hurricane Otto. Centerline Road suffered extensive damage including washouts and undercuts. Safety cones warn drivers to be careful in those areas.

According to Smalls, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay for repairs to Centerline Road. He said his department applied for just under $ 1 million in funding for Centerline Road and other St. John repairs, but it hasn’t arrived yet.

“It’s a process, but they understand it’s critical,” he said.

He said that Public Works has done some work with local funds, and if he can identify more money, FEMA will reimburse the territory.

Deputy Public Works Commissioner Ira Wade said Friday that his crews have replaced some collapsed culverts. He said that an additional culvert will go at the base of the road into the Upper Carolina neighborhood.

“We want to reduce the amount of water going down the road,” Wade said.

Public Works will eliminate a culvert that caused flooding in a house on the lower side of Centerline Road.

The Upper Carolina estate roads, which are privately owned, were also heavily damaged in Otto. Smalls said that those making repairs in that area must get appropriate permits from the Planning and Natural Resources Department.

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