Five road projects remedying storm damage got the go-ahead from St. Croix Coastal Zone Management Committee Tuesday night. The project getting the most attention is the replacement of culverts at the entrance to Altoona Lagoon Park. The park is a popular place for residents to swim, fish, walk and take kids to a playground.
V.I. Paving Inc., on behalf of the Public Works Department, in conjunction with federal agencies, will do the work. Company officials had said at an earlier meeting that consideration would be given to those wanting to gain access to the park during construction.
The bridge is the only road access to the park. No mention of what that consideration would be was made Tuesday. However, in the application report, it says a temporary lagoon crossing road will be built to ensure continuous access to the park and dock launch site.
The report states, “The Altona Lagoon dock is one of the most commonly used landing sites for local fishermen, and restricting access to this landing site would hinder local fishermen from normal daily operation.”
A precast concrete bridge deck will be installed, supported by concrete footings on top of steel piles driven into either side of the lagoon inlet. Sidewalks, guardrails, and handrails will be added.
Tuesday night’s meeting was abbreviated as there was an island-wide power outage at the time the meeting was scheduled to begin. The decision meeting began a half hour late and the presentation by the applicants was not heard. The committee has been hearing about the projects since April 2021.
The other projects that were given a positive Federal Consistency Determination were Route 78, West Scenic Road in Sweet Bottom; Route 82, the half-mile between Chenay Bay East and Cheeseburgers in Paradise; Route 64, east airport bridge — northern exit off Melvin Evans Highway; and Route 72, Midland Road bridge — north of Sejah Farms, near the Calquohoun entrance.
The section of highway between Cheeseburgers and Chenay has been known to grow treacherously deep potholes.
Committee Chairwoman Massarae Sprauve-Webster asked if there were still projects to come that would address the lack of streetlights on the highways. Piotr Gajewski said Public Works was working on a streetlight project for Melvin Evans Highway and other projects too.
Sprauve-Webster said she was speaking for everyone when she urged Public Works to make those projects a priority.