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Week#10 Update: Christiansted Underground Project Moves to King Street

(Tuesday, January 08, 2013)


The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority

NEWS RELEASE

Contact:  Cassandra Dunn, Director of Corporate Communications

340-773-2250 extension 4085 or 340-690-5758

www.viwapa.vi

Christiansted Underground Phase II Project work on Queen Cross and Strand Streets which required heavy equipment for the installation of electrical conduits and water lines will wind down by Thursday, January 10.  The heavy equipment will then be moved to King Street between Market and Prince Streets where Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority contractor, J. Benton Construction, would have begun  the soft cutting of the road  in that area on Wednesday, January 9.   Work along King Street will be from  7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.  

On Wednesday, vehicle and foot traffic will be possible on upper King Street, but parking will not be available in the construction area.  From Thursday, motorists entering King Street from Bassin Triangle will be detoured to the right at Market Street, and can make left turns at Hill Street and Prince Street to access lower King Street and other town areas.  Motorists can also enter the downtown areas by taking Watergut Street from Bassin Triangle to King Cross Street.  Signage will be placed to identify roads closed to vehicular traffic, and flaggers will be present for informational purposes and to facilitate foot traffic. Trucking companies with larger trucks servicing St. Croix’s east end have been notified to travel on the south shore road when making their deliveries. 

The King Street portion of the project will be completed in segments with a minimum of vehicular traffic interruption.   Every possible effort will continue to minimize inconvenience to foot and vehicular traffic and to provide easy access to all offices and businesses during their operating hours. Customers patronizing Christiansted businesses are reminded that they can present a validated receipt from a business for free parking in the government parking lot until January 18.

The Authority will continue to update the public of the construction schedules 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. Information is also available on WAPA’s website at www.viwapa.vi and on the Authority’s Facebook page. For further inquiries about the project, email communications@viwapa.vi, or call (340) 773-2250 ext. 4085 or 2050, or (340) 690-5758.

The Christiansted Underground project is a critical component of WAPA’s larger underground mitigation plan for the Virgin Islands. Upon project completion, 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.

WAPA thanks the public for its understanding while the utility works to improve service reliability in the Christiansted town area.

               

Background Information

As the weeks progress, work will continue on King Street, Church Street and Company Street. and 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.

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