One year after the April 21, 2006, opening of the Enighed Pond Marine Facility, the barge facility still has no parking or paved waiting area for cars, running water or electrical hook-ups, and there are no plans to provide these necessities — or funds for the proposed construction of a guard house and administrative building.
“With respect to continuing construction at Enighed, the items that were slated for that area were construction of the guard house and administrative building, as well as electrical and water hookups,” said V.I. Port Authority spokesperson Marc Stridiron. “Those are presently on hold pending funding.”
Instead, VIPA is focusing its efforts on paving part of the port to be used as a cargo storage area.
Paving Container Storage Area
“The main construction work that will be taking place in the Enighed area in the immediate future is working to pave the area across from the water treatment plant, and that will be a cargo storage area,” said Stridiron. “As cargo is coming through the Enighed facility, it might need to be stored or staged on a temporary basis. We’re establishing this separate area so there isn’t mixing between heavy cargo trucks and regular passenger vehicles which are just trying to use the barges to go back and forth to St. Thomas.”
Plans for the paving project have been completed, and VIPA will advertise for bids for the project in about a month, Stridiron added.
While an area of the port is being set aside for cargo, there is not enough space for the long lines of cars waiting to get on the barge, which often spill onto Pond Road.
VIPA Will Investigate Traffic Pattern
“We are aware that at times, the lines can become fairly long, but given the space limitations in the area, there’s not much we can do to mitigate that at this point,” said Stridiron. “It’s just sort of a matter of the amount of demand for use of the barges and the limited amount of space we have in that area to queue them all up.”
VIPA will continue to investigate the issue, according to Stridiron.
“As is true of just about all Port Authority projects, we continue to look at traffic and usage and things like that,” he said. “As we progress, we will take whatever steps are possible to mitigate some of the lines and keep them out of the flow of traffic. That’s an issue we’ll address once we’ve dealt with the paving.”
VIPA may be able to free up more space once the study of the dredge spoil area at the port is completed, according to Stridiron.
Studying Stability of Spoils
“A lot of future plans are being cast in the direction of the study of the dredge spoil area,” he said. “The study, which is ongoing and started a while ago with some drilling and core studies, is mainly to see what can be done with the spoils. The main issue is there are concerns about the stability of the spoils.”
While the dredge spoils area may appear to be dried out and stable, it’s the stability at a deeper point which VIPA is concerned about, Stridiron added.
“The stability at depth is really the concern, because the spoils were piled up fairly high,” said the VIPA spokesperson. “Even though on the surface it might be dry and hard enough for someone to walk on, the requirements for putting a structure, roadway or driveway would call for stability at certain depths as well.”
The purpose of the study is to determine the strength and stability of the dredge spoils.
Getting Clear Picture of Uses
“If that is not sufficient, the study will try to determine if there are more economical ways it could be shored up so structures could be put on the land, or other uses could be explored,” said Stridiron. “Our hope is that once the study is completed, we will have a clearer picture of the possible uses of all the land and the associated costs for use of all the land in the Enighed area, so we can fully plan future developments.”
Other plans at Enighed include an enhanced security plan and development of an administration building to allow construction of restrooms, and to provide a point of contact for anyone needing services at the port, Stridiron added.
The mitigation of area mangroves, required by the Army Corps of Engineers, is right on schedule, according to Amy Dempsey, owner of BioImpact, which has been charged with planting and maintaining the mangroves.
“The mangroves are doing quite well,” said Dempsey. “We haven’t been able to totally plant everything yet. We’ll eventually have a total cover.”
Mangroves on Schedule
The planting of the mangroves is on schedule, explained Dempsey.
“We’re right on schedule,” she said. “This is a system we’re trying to build, which will be monitored and maintained over a five year period. Right now, we have more mangroves than we’re required to have — we’re trying to get a good mangrove coverage throughout the entire area.”