The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, awarded the Department of Public Works (DPW) up to $1,906,374 to construct a retaining wall and install a drainage system at Fish Fry Drive on St. John.
The popular roadway lies to the west of the Theodore Eric Moorehead Marine Facility in Cruz Bay and is subject to recurring coastal and riverine flooding. After heavy rains, the sea rises, flooding the road, which leads to the breakdown of the shoreline and the deterioration of the asphalt.
The project’s scope calls for the installation of a permanent retaining wall system along the shoreline to prevent erosion and a drainage system that will direct water from the road to the sea. These elements will allow the water to drain off and away from the road to avoid further erosion.
Derek Gabriel, commissioner for the Department of Public Works, said, “These funds will allow for a high-impact community project for the residents of St. John. This area suffers from significant flooding and major erosion during rain events, and we are excited we will finally be able to permanently fix the problem. Moreover, we will be preserving both the shoreline and roadway for our residents and visitors. This is a perfect example of the recovery at work for our people as we truly change the course of our territory.”
A firm will be solicited to execute Phase1 deliverables. If approved, the project should be complete by July 2023.
“This funding will ensure that residents in the area can maintain access to their homes during and after a rainstorm,” said Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, director of the Office of Disaster Recovery. “The project application is in line with the goals of the Territorial Hazard Mitigation Plan and FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Through these collaborations, St. John residents can be certain that projects are developed to provide long-term, resilient solutions for the islands flood-prone areas.”
The approval process for this project is dual-phased. The department has received approval for the first phase to complete engineering, design, land surveys and permitting and to conduct a technical feasibility assessment. If the project continues to meet FEMA’s hazard mitigation program guidelines, funds will then be appropriated to execute the second phase, which is construction.