Virgin Islands Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe announced that the Authority has submitted a joint application to the VI Coastal Zone Management Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the East Gregerie Channel in Crown Bay, St. Thomas, VI.
Dowe said the joint application proposes to dredge the north side of the Crown Bay Cruise Ship Dock and the East Gregerie Channel to 11 meters. This dredging is intended to accommodate existing and future cruise ships and improve navigational safety7 during arrival and departure maneuvers. The turning basin has been positioned to minimize the impact on the marine environment to the greatest extent possible. The estimated quantity of material to be removed is 193,100 cubic yards – of which 54,500 cubic yards is rock.
Dowe added that the application to CZM and the USACOE includes a proposal to transport the dredged material to the island of St. Croix. Dowe said the material dredged will be useful for construction projects. It will be stored at the Rock Quarry which sits on Port Authority-owned property7 on St. Croix until it is dry enough to be used by VIPA, the VI Department of Public Works and other private entities who have a need for the material.
The entire permitting process is expected to be completed by December 2013. If the permit is approved, Dowe said VEPA is prepared to advertise a bid for a contractor to perform the dredging immediately. “Within 60 days we should have a contract in place with a company to perform the dredging. It will take an additional three months to mobilize and transport dredging equipment and materials needed to dredge the channel from the mainland to St. Thomas.” said Dowe. He anticipates that by May 15, 2014 the dredging should begin, and that the entire project should be completed by May 2015 to February 2016 – depending on the characteristics of the rock being dredged in the channel.
The VI Port Authority’ has paid for all studies and consultants necessary to prepare the permits via funds in its FY 2013 budget. The VIPA Board is currently determining the best option to finance the actual dredging.
Press Release, April 22, 2013