Repairs completed to Christiansted Boardwalk


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ST. CROIX - Residents visiting the Christiansted Boardwalk have seen a noticeable improvement since the completion of the Christiansted Boardwalk resurfacing project.

This weekend, V.I. Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said the restoration project on the boardwalk, which had fallen into a state of dilapidation over the last few years, has been completed on time.

The project included replacement of all of the surface pieces of the existing boardwalk with a composite material that looks like wood but is more durable and more resistant to the elements, Smalls said.

The wear and tear and battering of the boardwalk by the salt water, compounded by the impact from recent storms, made it necessary for repairs along the complete length of the boardwalk that extends from the Seaborne Airlines terminal on its western end to the King Christian Hotel on its eastern end, according to Smalls.

He said Benton Construction did an outstanding job, completing the work in small phases to limit the disruption to the many restaurants, hotels, retail stores, bars and tourist attractions that line the downtown locale and completed the job by its projected end date.

He said the work progressed well despite some challenges and obstacles, as they removed the surface boards and found more underlying damage in some areas.

The need for the repairs was evident in the areas where the wooden planks had warped, some were rotted and others were broken. Some portions of the boardwalk had been so badly deteriorated that plywood patches had been laid to prevent pedestrians from falling through to the water.

Funding for the $900,000 resurfacing project came in part from $400,000 from Federal Emergency Management Agency funds as a result of the hurricane damage that the boardwalk sustained in recent years. That was supplemented with a $1 million grant from the Interior Department that will complete the project and help fund additional projects - including some that have not yet been determined, Smalls said.

Workers are currently preparing to install additional benches and trash receptacles as a part of the project.

The concept of building a boardwalk was introduced in the 1980s as part of a major urban renewal project.

Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and Hurricane Marilyn in 1995 destroyed it, and it was rebuilt in 1999, running from the King Cross Street access east to where it currently ends.

The project was redone three years later after rusted nails resulted in planks coming loose, leaving a gaping hole on the boardwalk.

In September 2004, a project added 394 feet to the west end of the boardwalk, bringing the existing boardwalk to the Seaborne Airlines terminal.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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