The much-delayed opening of the Enighed Pond port is near, and final details are being worked out, according to V.I. Port Authority (VIPA) officials.
One obstacle VIPA has faced is a large rock in the channel to the new commercial port. Plans originally called for the rock to be removed prior to the ponds opening, but due to an active hurricane season, large equipment necessary for the work is being used in hurricane-ravaged areas and is not available.
Until the rock can be removed, VIPA will mark it with a buoy.
Enighed Pond will be opening very soon, said VIPA spokesperson Carol Henneman on Jan. 10. We have to put a buoy where the rock is, and that is being negotiated now.
Another detail being worked out is one that has caused controversy among St. John residents.
Dredged Spoils Have Settled
Material that was dredged from the channel is still settling on the Enighed Pond property, said Gregory Dale, VIPA director of engineering.
Its going to be there until we decide exactly what were going to do with it, he said. Its situated on valuable space, so, ultimately, well have to remove some of it or do something on top of it. Before, there was a lot of water in it, but its gone down about two-and-a-half feet.
The space that is currently occupied by the dredged material could be used as a staging area for cars waiting to get onto barges.
Residents are concerned that without this staging area, the traffic caused by Enighed Pond could overwhelm Cruz Bay.
Planning for Traffic Flow
A lack of a plan for the flow of vehicles waiting to get on the car barges may create long lines that will block the fire station, the Julius E. Sprauve School and nearby homes, concerned residents told a November town meeting with VIPA officials.
There are some logistical problems we have to work out in the area, said Henneman. We have to have a plan for how the whole place is going to run. We are doing the last stages of this plan right now.
VIPA has not yet set a date for an official opening with Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, whose busy schedule was one cause of the delayed opening.
He wants to do it as soon as possible, said Henneman. Hes busy with the state of the territory this month, but its going to happen soon.