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DPW Gets $2.5 Million From FEMA To Ward Off Mudslides In The Territory

CHRISTIANSTED — The Federal Emergency Management Agency, through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, awarded the Department of Public Works $2,551,550 for a territory-wide slope analysis to identify areas at risk for landslides and to design and install slope stabilization systems.

Once complete, the project will remedy the effects of falling rock and mudslides in vulnerable areas throughout the territory. Estimations show that upwards of 200,000 sq. ft. of slope stabilization systems will need to be placed in moderate to high landslide risk areas, most of which lie in the St. Thomas/St. John district.

“This grant funding will allow the department to address a significant issue that affects our roadways after any major rainstorm, making the roads safe and secure for our motorists and pedestrians,” Derek Gabriel, commissioner designee for the Department of Public Works said,

The 2019 Territorial Hazard Mitigation Plan has identified potential sites that include roadways and heavily trafficked areas as a starting point for the project.

A firm will be solicited to conduct a slope analysis to pinpoint the most critical areas. When the locations have been identified, an engineering firm will design the type of stabilization methods to be installed. The size and configuration will be based on drainage, topography, subsurface conditions and soil/rock properties. A combination of soil nailing, rock anchoring, welded wire mesh facing, natural vegetation, concrete retaining walls and other slope stabilization methods may be utilized to ensure the most secure defense from extreme weather-related events. 

“This funding will resolve recurring issues in areas where the land is unstable, causing rock and, after heavy rain, mud to fall into our roads and drainage systems,” said Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, Office of Disaster Recovery Director. “The Hazard Mitigation Office works closely with local and federal agencies to determine gaps that can be mitigated utilizing sound project development and funding from FEMA to strengthen the territories infrastructure, minimize losses and recover faster when faced with natural disasters.” 

The amount obligated to complete the slope assessment in Phase I is $700,500. After the successful administration of Phase 1 deliverables, Phases II and III which includes design and construction, will be obligated for $1,851,000 for a total project cost of $2,551,550. The project should be complete by the end of 2023.

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VI Free Press

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