VIPA Now Plans for mid-December Opening for Enighed Pond Port

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With three decades of planning and more than two years of construction, Enighed Pond Marine Freight Facility remains unopened and V.I. Port Authority officials are now planning for a mid-December opening.

“We are now planning for the opening to be mid-December,” said VIPA Executive Director Darlan Brin. The opening is still contingent upon two permit modification approvals, Brin added.

Construction of the long-awaited facility, expected to relieve congestion at the current barge dock in the Creek in Cruz Bay, is complete, but the VIPA is still awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to two permit modifications.

The VIPA has asked to modify a section of its original permit with the USACE which mandates the planting of mangrove islands on the site, asking for a longer time period for the mitigation project, and VIPA also has submitted a request to remove a large rock obstructing the access channel.

“We are still waiting on the Corps’ approvals, but the VIPA still must make plans and is shooting for a mid-December opening,” said Brin. “We can’t wait until we get the permit approvals to begin making plans.”

The VIPA is already outlining plans for dock masters, section controls and other items necessary to ensure the port is operational by mid-December.

While awaiting USACE’s response to the modification requests, the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved funds to the VIPA to remove the rock in the access channel, according to the September 2005 issue of the VIPA newsletter.

“In order to save time, VIPA invited contractors to submit bids to remove the rock while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is processing the permit modifications,” according to the recent VIPA newsletter. “In addition, with the recent approval of funds totaling $1.2 million from DPW and FHWA, VIPA will make additional improvements to the port.”

The improvements include: the construction of an administration building, paving of an adjacent storage lot and installation of security devices to meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements, according to the VIPA publication.