Dec. 14, 2005–Gordon Finch told the V.I. Port Authority Governing Board Wednesday that he had hoped the dredging at Frederiksted pier, which would allow larger cruise ships at the Anne E. Abramson pier, would be completed by now.
Instead of being finished, however, the dredging is just scheduled to start Jan. 15. Finch, former executive director for VIPA, who has been handling the project, said a construction meeting is set for Thursday and the dredging is expected to be completed by the middle of June.
In December 2004, the VIPA governing board approved a resolution to seek requests for proposals for the dredging. On Feb. 15 of this year, bids were opened. V.I. Cement and Building Products was selected to do the project at $2.1 million.
But then the permitting process began. The process gained the attention of many St. Croix residents and the St. Croix Environmental Association because of a potential danger to the marine life around the pier.(See Decision on Pier Dredging Permit Expected Thursday.)
Finch said the Department of Planning and Natural Resources gave approval for the dredging in April, but an actual DPNR permit was not issued until June.
In June the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raised concerns which Finch said were quickly addressed by the Port Authority. However, he added that a permit from the Corps of Engineers was not issued until Oct. 12. (See Dredging to Get Started After Numerous Stops and Starts.)
By then the time period for which V.I. Cement's bid was good had passed, so VIPA had to renegotiate with the company. Finch said V.I. Cement was now asking for $2.6 million because of the higher price of gas and the higher price of obtaining barges after Hurricane Katrina. (See Frederiksted Pier Dredging on Hold Again.)
Finch said Wednesday, "We got them down to $2.3 million and they are ready to do the job."
Finch, when questioned by a board member, confirmed, "We have gotten all the permits we need."
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