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Twenty Years In The Making … Turpentine Run Road Project Finally Breaks Ground In St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Governor Kenneth Mapp, members of his administration, and an official of the Federal Highway Administration ceremonially broke ground Tuesday for the long stalled Turpentine Run Road Project.

The $9.5 million project began over 20 years ago with construction of a concrete bridge over the Turpentine Run gut, but stalled when adjacent land acquisitions hit a dead end.

Mapp, Department of Public Works Commissioner Gustav James and Federal Highway Administration Assistant Division Administrator Michael Avery, described the project as primarily necessary for flood mitigation. However, the Governor noted that the completed project would make the intersection safer and relieve traffic congestion in the Estate Nadir area as accelerated development will result from the planned enhancement of the nearby Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack.

The Virgin Islands government has a franchise agreement with VIGL, Ltd., to modernize and operate both racetracks in the territory after a $30 million investment.  The governor predicted significant economic growth and improvements in the Estate Nadir area.

Nadir area residents welcomed the Mapp/Potter Administration’s commitment to finally complete what became known as the “Bridge to Nowhere”.  Nadir community activist Julian Henley described the groundbreaking ceremony as “a great day”.  He recalled the extreme flooding that has plagued homeowners for years, often driving people from their homes.  Henley thanked Mapp for taking on the Turpentine Run Road Project after 20 years of inactivity.

Michael Avery said that the federal government is fully committed to the good use of federal funds to improve safety, roads and bridges in the Virgin Islands.  He said that a new procurement process will speed up project completion, and promised that another $105 million will be spent on such projects in the coming months.

Saying the completion of the project was long overdue, Mapp thanked residents for their patience.

“It shouldn’t have taken 20 years,” he said.

The Turpentine Run Road project is scheduled for completion in early 2018.  Island Roads, Corp. is the design and construction contractor. Traffic has been diverted to minimize disruptions. In order to complete the project, the former gas station at the intersection, a long standing eyesore, was demolished.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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