Jan. 5, 2005 It should take people about two-and-a-half to three weeks to catch on that they can't park at the Red Hook ferry dock once construction on the new Red Hook marine terminal project begins, Island Roads operations manager Geoffrey Fleming Jr. said.
"That's the learning curve on St. Thomas," he said, speaking from experience with other projects.
Fleming made his remarks at a meeting called by the V.I. Port Authority for barge operators and their customers held Wednesday at the Battery on St. John.
He said Island Roads plans to put up a sign with the telephone number of the towing company that will remove parked vehicles.
And Port Authority director Darlan Brin said the agency will beef up security to keep vehicles out.
Drivers parking long-term will have to leave their vehicles at a site near Eudora Kean High School. The passengers will either have to walk to the ferry dock or take a taxi.
Fleming said that work will begin this weekend when Island Roads moves a crane needed to construct the new barge ramp. The new ramp will be east of the largest of the existing ramps.
While work is underway on the new barge ramp, Island Roads will put up a fence inland of the eastern edge of the existing parking lot. This will create a road to the new barge site to be used by construction vehicles only.
When the new barge ramp is finished, it will be put into use while Island Roads works on the new ferry terminal. Vehicles will then use the fenced-off road initially used by construction vehicles involved in the ramp project.
Brin said the Port Authority wants to separate vehicles heading for the barge and those picking up passengers at the ferry terminal or heading for the parking lot.
The last phase will be developing a new parking lot.
Fleming said that Island Roads also needs to run a sewer line along Red Hook Road, which could snarl traffic on this busy thoroughfare.
Brin and Fleming both said that there will be rough spots during the year it takes to complete the project, but they are doing everything they can to make it go as smoothly as possible.
"It will take cooperation," Brin said.
While Brin said the Port Authority may have to periodically shift movement of heavy cargo vehicles to Crown Bay rather than Red Hook, Fleming said he didn't think it would become necessary.
Brin said that if it happens, exceptions would be made for garbage trucks and those like concrete and refrigerator trucks carrying time-sensitive materials.
At issue for St. John merchants is the fact that 40-foot containers will no longer be shipped through Red Hook.
After the question came up, Brin said allowing only 20-foot containers was a condition of the Port Authority's Coastal Zone Management permit for the Red Hook project.
"It will cost a lot more money to ship that way. It will put St. John merchants at a disadvantage," businessman Alan Johnson said.
Brin said the Port Authority is exploring the idea of a cargo facility at Long Point on St. Thomas. This area is near the Bovoni Landfill.
Port Authority director of engineering Dale Gregory said after the meeting that the other link in St. Thomas to St. John transportation, the Enighed Pond commercial port, should be finished by June. The project has suffered numerous delays for a variety of reasons.
He said the Port Authority is currently trying to figure out what to do with the dredged material. The contractor tried trucking it to the Susannaberg Landfill, but it ran down a gut in a heavy rain.
Gregory said the Port Authority has asked the Army Corp of Engineers to modify its permit so it can temporarily dump the dredged material in areas within Enighed Pond where they must plant mangroves and do other mitigation measures.
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