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WEEK #5 UPDATE #2: CHRISTIANSTED PHASE II UNDERGROUND PROJECT

(Wednesday, December 05, 2012)

 

Work continues on the Christiansted Phase II Underground project. As of Wednesday, Dec. 5, work on the primary trench on King Cross Street (heading towards the library) has been completed and work is near completion on King Cross Street, between Strand and Watergut Streets.

On Thursday night, Dec. 6, from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Friday, Strand Street, from King Cross to Queen Cross Streets will be closed to vehicular traffic. This night work will allow contractors to work on the new waterline and the electric primary ducts to enhance water and electric service in the area. King Cross Street, between Watergut and Strand Streets, will remain closed to vehicular traffic until Friday. Foot traffic will continue to be allowed for the convenience of workers, shoppers and residents in the town area.

Signage has been placed to indicate road closures, and flaggers will be present for informational purposes. Contractors will continue to work with heavy machinery, lay conduits and cover trenches. All trenches will be covered in time for Saturday’s boat parade activities for ease in walking and driving in the town area. 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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