Oct. 26, 2005 The dredging project at the Frederiksted pier can't get a break.
The project, which would allow the Anne E. Abramson cruise ship pier to accommodate larger vessels and improve tourism on St. Croix, has stalled again due to a natural disaster.
For months, St. Croix residents have been awaiting the start of the dredging. On Oct. 12 the Virgin Islands Port Authority issued a press release stating that the authority was approved for a permit to dredge the pier.
In December 2004, the VIPA governing board approved a resolution to seek requests for proposals for the dredging. (SeeVIPA Approves Dredging Projects)
Since then, the project has stopped and started, waiting for Coastal Zone Management approval and then stalling again for almost five months.
Less than two weeks after the permit was approved, the authority issued a press release stating Hurricane Wilma damaged the Florida office of the dredging company, which has left the completion of this project up in the air again.
VI Cement and Building Products, the firm selected to dredge areas alongside the Ann E. Abramson marine facility, was in the final stages of contract negotiations when Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast. At that point the company's dredging equipment was sent to assist in the Mississippi and Louisiana area.
On Tuesday, VIPA was advised that VICBP's parent company, Devcon International, located in Deerfield, Florida, was substantially damaged in the wake of Hurricane Wilma. VIPA officials said in the statement they would continue to negotiate with VICBP as well as seek other alternatives to dredge along the pier.
"They were not the only bidder," David Mapp, VIPAs assistant executive director, said on Wednesday. "We have to evaluate this and see where we go from here."
Sindulfo Castillo, with the Army Corps of Engineers in Puerto Rico, expressed his concern about the set back. Castillo confirmed that the final permit for VIPA to proceed with the dredging was in place.
"Now it's up to VIPA to get the job done," he said.
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