March 20, 2006 – Work is finally in progress on the dredging of the Frederiksted pier.
The relocation of live coral around the dredging site has been completed and divers began removing piles left from the old pier Monday in preparation for dredging. V.I. Port Authority officials said dredging equipment is scheduled to be on St. Croix by March 27 and clam shell dredging would commence soon after.
On Feb. 16, Darlan Brin, VIPA executive director, told senators at an Economic Development, Planning and Environmental Protection Committee hearing that the dredging would start March 13. However, relocation of live coral did not begin until March 16. The coral relocation was done by divers from National Resource Consultants.
Monday the divers were back in the water removing piles left from the old pier. There are approximately 240 piles which divers will either have to remove or cut to a minimum of one foot below the sea floor.
Jeff Lawlor, Port Authority senior engineer, said hurricanes and other events caused the piles to be exposed on the sea floor. He said divers would use various methods of removing or cutting the piles so they would not cause problems for ships docking at the pier. Piles will be removed from inside and outside the dredging area.
Lawlor said the V. I. Cement and Paving general superintendent confirmed that his dredging equipment will be in Frederiksted no later than sundown on Monday, March 27. The equipment is being barged from St. Thomas where it was being used to complete the Crown Bay dredging.
The contractors have until June 30 to complete the project. Dredging would include both the north and south sides of the pier, removing 25,000 cubic yards of sand and rubble on the north side and 22,000 cubic yards on the south side, to a width of 200 feet on each side.
The sea bed will be dredged to 34 feet below mean sea level, giving 5 to 6 feet extra "wiggle room" for cruise ships.
The 1,526-foot Ann E. Abramson cruise ship pier and marine facility, located in Frederiksted, is the main cruise ship port in St. Croix. The facility was opened in July 1994. The original pier was destroyed in Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
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