May 5, 2005 The Enighed Pond commercial port should open by the end of this year, V.I. Port Authority director Darlan Brin said Thursday.
"I want to have it functioning by the upcoming season," he said, referring to the winter 2005/2006 season that starts in December.
He said the contractor still has to remove a rock from the middle of the channel. He said that while the rock could be marked with a buoy, he would prefer a clear channel to improve navigation.
Brin said the dock, the ramp, the lighting, the fencing, and the apron are finished.
The dredged material piled up around the project's perimeter will remain, he said. "It can't be flattened because it's too soft. It will take a few years to become hard."
He said he and his staff are now working on an operational plan to ensure that loading and unloading of the barges goes smoothly. Brin said he will meet shortly with barge company representatives to work out more details.
"If it's not planned out in advance, we'll just move the organized chaos from one spot to another," St. John Administrator Julien Harley said Thursday.
He was referring to the traffic gridlock that often occurs at the Creek, particularly in the late afternoon, when vehicles coming off the barges and vehicles trying to get on both try to occupy the same small space.
Brin said that once the Creek is no longer used for barge and other commercial traffic, the Port Authority will put in some landscaping to make the area look nicer.
Harley said that plans to build a roundabout near the Texaco gas station are still in the works. If the roundabout is not built, drivers of large trucks will have to back and fill to get around the gas station so they can access the road to the Enighed Pond commercial port.
Both Brin and Harley said that St. John Air Taxi hopes to launch as seaplane service at the seaward end of Enighed Pond. Harley said the terminal would sit in the area where fish fries were once held.
However, Harley wants to limit operation hours to sunrise to sundown so the neighbors could get some peace.
St. John Air Taxi owner David Brown could not be reached for further information.
Groundbreaking on the $12.8 million project occurred on June 13, 2003. At that time, construction was slated to wrap up in June 2004.
There have been numerous delays, including a bad stench that happened during the dredging. The Port Authority tried trucking the dredged material to the Susannaberg landfill but that idea fizzled when it washed down a gut.
The project has been in the works for decades. In 1985, the Port Authority anticipated the project would cost about $4 million. Former Port Authority director John Harding said at a public meeting held in 1985 that the agency expected to start construction by the end of that year.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.