Construction is set to begin this week on the first electrical underground project in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority said on Sept. 17.
Undergrounding of equipment in and around the Wilfred “Bomba” Allick Port and Transshipment Center at Krause Lagoon is a $2.5 million federally funded project with financial resources provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. J. Benton Construction Inc. is the contractor on the project, which aims to provide critical facilities with electrical equipment that is less vulnerable to hurricanes and windstorms. The work entails trenching and conduit installation.
“The undergrounding of facilities in critical areas is key during storm restoration and other emergencies,” said Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Interim Executive Director Noel Hodge. “The ports are critical to the movement of materials and supplies into the territory after a disaster and providing facilities that can lead to more efficient power restoration, bodes well for the future.”
Hodge noted that in April, Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority broke ground on this and two similar underground electrical projects, in Golden Grove and Midland, “and we are now set to proceed with the start of construction on Tuesday.”
As with similar electrical undergrounding across the territory, the Container Port project will replace existing overhead electrical lines and equipment with underground equipment. “This lessens damage from future hurricanes and windstorms and also ensures more efficient service restoration in the aftermath of a natural disaster,” Hodge said.
Similar electrical undergrounding projects are slated for St. Thomas and St. John as part of a larger strategic transformation of the territory’s electrical and water utility.