In 2018, American Bridge broke ground on Phase 1 of the Veterans Drive Improvement Project. As the general contractor, AB was responsible for the widening of .46 miles along the Charlotte Amalie waterfront. The scope of work included roadway widening, pavement reconstruction, seawall construction, drainage improvements, lighting, and installation of a new promenade and landscaping.
The project required the reclamation of approximately 3.5 acres of the existing waterway into pavement and complete reconstruction of approximately 2,500 LF of the existing roadway. To accomplish this the project was completed in the following three phases:
- Phase One: In water work followed by the storm drain, utilities, and pavement. Once complete, traffic was shifted onto the new roadway.
- Phase Two: The existing roadway was demolished allowing for the storm drain, utilities, and new pavement to be completed. Once completed, eastbound and westbound traffic was shifted onto new pavement.
- Phase Three: Final surface course asphalt and thermoplastic markings were placed in the westbound direction. Once complete, westbound traffic was shifted onto the new surface. The eastbound lanes were completed last allowing for all traffic to be placed into the final four-lane configuration.
Construction included 2,400 LF of pre-cast counterfort gravity wall with decorative coping at the seaward edge of the project. There is also 50,000 CY of import fill land reclamation, 13,292 SY of new asphalt pavement construction, 9,624 LF of concrete curb, 3,784 LF of storm pipe and 50 storm inlets, 2,130 LF of potable water main, 5,400 SY of concrete sidewalk, 3,000 SY of paver walkway with concrete edging, pavement markings, signage new traffic signal, new lighting system, landscaping, and irrigation.
The AB team worked to overcome several challenges throughout the course of the project. The first challenge began while the project was being bid. In August of 2017, St. Thomas was directly hit by two Category 5 hurricanes that impacted the availability of resources. Another challenge was met with the original seawall design that consisted of 6,600 individual block units stacked in a strict geometric pattern up to 22 feet tall. Preliminary design analysis raised concerns about the original wall design’s ability to meet the coastal engineering requirements as well as constructability concerns due to the strict geometric layout required by the contract drawings. AB submitted a value engineering proposal for 251 individual single-height counterfort wall units with stainless reinforcement that exceeded the coastal engineering requirements and allowed for installation to meet the geometric requirements. In addition, AB helped to minimize environmental impacts through a value engineering change to the counterfort gravity wall. The change minimized the in-water excavation and expedited the wall construction timeframe.
AB completed the first phase of this project on August 2021 with Final Completion anticipated in December 2021. The project has transformed the downtown waterfront area and provided a much-needed pedestrian space for the community to walk, ride their bicycles, or gather in one of the three outdoor promenades. This project is part of a larger revitalization taking place on the St. Thomas waterfront and downtown Charlotte Amalie in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Owner: Federal Highway Administration
- Location: Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
- Project Value: $45M
- Completion Date: December 2021
- Delivery Model: Bid-Build