The Enighed Pond commercial port, which is intended to alleviate traffic in Cruz Bay by diverting barges delivering cars, containers and other cargo from the creek bulkhead, may just move the traffic problem to the other side of town when it is opened for use on Monday, April 10.
The V.I. Port Authority (VIPA) held fast to the scheduled opening after more than 30 years of planning and delays, despite concerns about traffic flow for the facility.
VIPAs opening of the long-delayed commercial port comes more than a year and a half before the scheduled completion of a traffic roundabout on the site of the Texaco gas station.
The roundabout will enable large trucks coming off the barges at Enighed Pond to make the turn up Centerline Road or access the North Shore Road.
Residents expressed concern at an early November town meeting about the problems which may arise due to long lines of cars waiting to get on the barges at Enighed Pond.
Several telephone calls to VIPA yielded a traffic plan for the facility.
Blocked Staging Area
Creating a plan for the use of Enighed Pond has been difficult because the area originally designed for staging vehicles waiting to load was filled with material dredged from the pond which still must dry out and cure before it can be taken to a landfill, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.
The dredged material is like gelatin thats been in the refrigerator for three days the material is not what they expected, and they cant get rid of it, said Senator at Large Craig Barshinger.
Until the dredged material is cleared, passengers will wait to get on the barge on Route 105 down to the pond and to the tennis courts, Department of Public Works Deputy Director Ira Wade said at a recent meeting.
There was no thought given to a waiting area, he said.
Barshinger encouraged residents to demand a better operations plan.
We need a public outcry to say that we need a staging area, he said.
Traffic Could Cause Problems
A line of traffic could snake past the V.I. Fire Departments Robert OConnor Sr. fire station to the Julius E. Sprauve School, and could block fire trucks from being able to respond to emergencies, and cause a dangerous situation for school children, according to some concerned residents.
Im sure the facility is an improvement on what we have now, but if we cant properly access and use it, it doesnt benefit us, said one St. John resident.
The traffic may cause problems for people living in the Enighed pond area, said Ivy Moses.
It seems like its going to be chaos you are bringing confusion to a residential area with elderly people, she said. What are they going to do when they need to get home?
It was not clear at press time if the dredged material had been removed, and if a staging area had been created.
VIPA engineer Dale Gregory acknowledged at the meeting that concerns raised by residents were valid.
Im going to recommend that we look at our operations plan, he said. I hear you loud and clear.
VIPA Wont Wait for Texaco Roundabout
Although many residents are concerned about the traffic generated by the pond, VIPA spokesperson Carol Henneman said that after decades of delays, the agency does not want to wait for the Texaco roundabout to be finished before opening the commercial port.
I certainly wouldnt want to be the one to announce that were going to wait a year and a half to open the pond, she said.
Enighed Pond Marine Freight Terminal Operation Plan
1. The operational hours of the dock for berthing shall be on a 24-hour basis. Loading and unloading of vehicles, cargo or other items shall be between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
2. Vehicles or mobile equipment unloaded or discharged at the dock from a vessel shall exit the marine terminal through the northwestern exit gate onto the public road. Such vehicles or mobile equipment disembarking from a vessel shall immediately traverse the apron and exit the terminal facility. No such vehicles or mobile equipment shall park or remain on the apron area.
3. Containers, general cargo or bulk material unloaded or discharged at the dock from a vessel shall be removed or transported immediately from the apron area through the northwestern exit gate onto the public road.
4. Containers, general cargo or bulk material to be loaded onto a vessel shall be transported directly to such vessel. No containers, general cargo or bulk material shall be stored or placed on the apron area of the marine facility unless permitted by a dock master of the V.I. Port Authority.
5. Vehicles, equipment and other mobile devices to be shipped or embark through the marine terminal shall enter the north entrance gate to access the apron area and shall possess and present a VIPA ticket. All such vehicles and other mobile devices shall park along the right side of the marine terminal roadway leading to the dock. This area is designated for the staging of vehicles or other mobile equipment only.
6. Barge company personnel and/or barge company service vehicles not being transported shall be granted access to the apron area of the facility by presenting a valid VIPA-issued identification medium.
7. Vessels shall berth at a space assigned by a dock master of the V.I. Port Authority for the purpose of loading and unloading. Vessels requiring services such as fuel or minor repair will be permitted with prior approval of a dock master of the Port Authority.
8. Any vessel accepted for berthing that may require repairs, shall be worked on continuously to completion when assigned a berth at the marine terminal. If the dock master declares the facility congested, the accepted vessel will be ordered to leave the facility.
9. No vehicles, containers or mobile equipment shall park in any restricted area or in loading zones for any longer period than is necessary to load and discharge cargo or passengers.
10. Cargo or gear will not be stored on the apron, in driveways, or roadways or any other locations that would hamper normal port operations without specific approval of a dock master of the Port Authority.
11. The Port Authority is not obligated to provide storage or handling for property which has been transported, nor intended to be transported by water to or from the marine terminal; nor is obligated to provide facilities beyond reasonable time as determined by the dock master.
12. In the event of an emergency situation the marine manager under the direct supervision of the executive director will implement the necessary and required measures. The marine manager will immediately contact any and all appropriate agencies and/or entities.
13. The Port Authority will ensure full compliance by all users of the marine terminal facility in accordance with all provisions contained in the approved Facility Security Plan by the U.S. Coast Guard.
14. All matters pertaining to security contained in the U.S. Coast Guard approved Facility Security Plan shall be fully implemented by the Facility Security Officer or designee.
VIPA Director Darlan Brin