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WAPA CONTINUES WORK ON CHRISTIANSTED PHASE II UNDERGROUND PROJECT NEXT WEEK

(Monday, November 12, 2012)

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority will continue work on Phase II of the Christiansted Underground Project this week on St. Croix. Work will be suspended on Monday, November 12, in observance of Veterans Day and will resume on Tuesday on Strand St. between King Cross and Prince Sts. (between the entrance of the Government Parking to the Scotia Bank parking lot). While the majority of work on this project is budgeted for the night time hours, from Tuesday until Friday of this week, work is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For safety reasons, work on the first part of the project will be done during the day. WAPA and J. Benton Construction, LLC will continue to make every effort possible to minimize inconvenience to foot and vehicular traffic in Christiansted and to provide easy access to all offices and businesses during their operating hours.

The Christiansted Underground project is a critical component of WAPA’s larger underground mitigation plan for the Virgin Islands. Upon completion of the underground project, there will be significant increase in service reliability in the town area. Undergrounding will also reduce the destruction and lengthy restoration process of Christiansted’s electrical distribution system in the event of a hurricane or other major events.

The Authority will continue to update the public of the schedule as work progresses from street to street. Residents are urged to register at www.vialert.gov, as it will be one of the Authority’s outlets used to update the community when traffic detours become necessary. You can also access this information on WAPA’s website at www.viwapa.vi. For further inquiries about the project, email to communications@viwapa.vi, call (340) 773-2250 ext. 4085 or 2065, or call (340) 690-5758 or (340) 244-1245.

Background Information

As the weeks progress, work will continue from the intersection of King and Prince Streets, down King Street and Market Street; then from the intersection of King and Prince Streets, down to Church Street. Work will then proceed at the intersection of Company and Prince Streets, and progress on to Company Street down to Market Street. The final portion of the phase II project will be from the intersection of Company and Prince Streets, down to Church Street. Each leg of the project should be finished within 2 month time periods, while the entire Phase II Underground Project is expected to be completed by March of 2013.

The installation of underground ducts and electrical cables in Christiansted will be completed in three phases. Phase I, completed in 2010, serves as the backbone for future projects to remove the aerial system in Christiansted. Phase II includes underground line installation on Strand, King, and Company Streets, and Phase III will include Queen, Hill, East and Fisher Streets in Christiansted town. The phase II portion of the project, which is funded by several federal grants and requires a 75/25 percent cost share between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and WAPA, has a total price tag of approximately $2 million. WAPA’s 25% of the cost share is funded by customer payments into the Self-Insurance and Hazard Mitigation Fund. This was established in 1994 to help minimize the potential impact of natural disasters on the electrical system and to initiate immediate restoration of the system should there be a delay or absence of federal funds during disaster restoration. The customer surcharge was eliminated in February 2006 when the fund reached its approved limit of $8 million. WAPA currently has undergrounding projects in Market Square, St. Thomas and from Estate Richmond to the proposed Midland Substation in Estate Spanish Town, St. Croix. On St. Thomas and St. Croix, underground lines already serve customers from the power plants to the hospitals and the airports.

The Authority appreciates the public’s patience during this major capital improvement project to better serve the people of the Virgin Islands.
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