The Department of Public Works issued a stop work order last week on the current undergrounding project being performed by Bermudez, Longo, Diaz-Masso, LLC (BLDM, LLC), on behalf of Liberty Communications USVI. Since then, Commissioner Derek Gabriel and other DPW staff have met several times with Liberty Communications of Puerto CEO Naji Khoury, his staff and BLDM, LLC representatives. The outcome of those meetings include:
- A revised communications plan - including additional print, radio and web media, for more consistent communication with the community regarding this project.
- A revised Maintenance of Traffic (MOT), as well as Health and Occupational Safety Plans from BLDM, LLC. This will also include sworn statements from all contractors and subcontractors that they will strictly abide by these plans.
- Dedicated Health and Safety Officers for both districts. These officers will have the added responsibility of providing daily reports to the assigned DPW Project Manager.
Noting the above, effective, Friday, July 16, 2021, Liberty Communications USVI and its contractors are authorized to resume work on Phase 1 of the undergrounding project in both the St. Thomas/St. John and St. Croix districts.
“My priority has always been ensuring safe roadways for our pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” said Commissioner Gabriel. “I believe Liberty and its subcontractors understand the importance of executing their work safely and timely. With the assurances we received over the last week, I believe we are in a good place to allow for the project to restart.”
In his letter addressed to Mr. Khoury, Commissioner Gabriel thanked him for his collaboration and responsiveness on this important issue. He also noted that he will issue a permanent stop order on the project if further violations continue.
Phase 1 of the undergrounding project is expected to be completed within 45 days. A meeting has been set for later this month to discuss and set expectations for the second phase of the project.