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Gittens Says Waterfront Construction Hazards Must Be Eliminated Before Opening Of Carnival Village

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — An ongoing multi-billion dollar downtown St. Thomas waterfront project could pose “a serious safety hazard” if the construction site is not better secured prior to the opening of the Carnival Village, Senate President Kenneth Gittens said today.

Much of the active construction is occurring immediately adjacent to the Capital Building and across a narrow road from the Fort Christian parking lot, site of the Carnival Village.

Gittens met with the Virgin Islands Police Department officials and construction contractors on Wednesday to recommend methods for better securing the site.

The St. Croix senator said he wanted to make sure that “these contractors know what they are in for next week when the village opens so we can work together to mitigate against potential hazards.”

Gittens recommended that fencing be extended around the site as well as made higher. He also urged the Veterans Drive project contractors, American Bridge, to post signage and ensure security during the peak of Carnival activities.

“Right now we have a wide open and potentially dangerous construction site in the same place where we anticipate thousands of people converging, all at once, in a matter of days,” Gittens said. “VIPD and American Bridge were very receptive to the suggestions I made to ensure the public’s safety.”

Gittens thanked VIPD Deputy Commissioner Celvin Walwyn, St. Thomas Deputy Chief Steven Phillip and staff, as well as American Bridge Project Manager Justin Berglund and Project Engineer Jocelyn Berglund for their input and cooperation. The Senate President said he remained concerned about the Public Works Department’s lack of participation in today’s safety meeting, which took place on the Charlotte Amalie waterfront.

“Following this meeting I am confident that VIPD and American Bridge will do their part to protect the public from any negative eventuality and the Virgin Islands Government from any liability,” the Senate President said.

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