Due to safety issues arising from the ongoing Long Bay road project, the Department of Public Works was forced over the weekend to cut down another mahogany tree – this one at the entrance to Port of Sale Mall – but the agency’s head said that it should be the last tree to be removed.
Speaking with the Source on Tuesday, Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said that the particular tree made it difficult for tractor trailers and other heavy equipment working in the area to make the turn in or out of Port of Sale. This is the sixth tree that the department has cut down during the project, and Smalls explained that the first five were removed to allow for the widening of the roadway into four lanes.
"This was not done arbitrarily," Smalls said. "We have always maintained that we would only cut trees if they prevented us from being able to align the roadway properly or, as in this case, because of a safety issue. From this point, we don’t anticipate that any more will be cut down."
The wood now becomes the property of Public Works, and how the trees are handled once they are removed is stipulated to in the contract between DPW and V.I. Paving, which has been working the Long Bay project. Smalls told the Source that the cut pieces are either used by the government or given to local woodworkers or nonprofit agencies.
By the end of the project, the remaining trees will be worked into the design and will occupy a median that will divide the highway, Smalls said.
Smalls added that the Long Bay project has continued to progress according to plan, with crews now completing the drainage work and undergrounding of utilities.
"Once completed, residents will see the overhead power lines underground, and transformers along with switchboards will be installed by the V.I. Water and Power Authority," he explained. "After that, they will see the completion of the road surface."