St. John Tradewinds News

VIPA Reports Continued Restoration Progress

Workers repair the roof of the Cyril E. King Airport. (VIPA photo)

The Virgin Islands Port Authority recently shared the following updates in progress being made to the US Virgin Islands’ air and seaports since the 2017 hurricanes.

The V.I. Port Authority’s contractor, Lemartec, Inc., has begun construction of a new roof for the Cyril E. King Airport terminal on St. Thomas and work should start soon on St. Croix, the authority announced ina news release Wednesday.

The entire 240,000-square foot roof at the CEKA Terminal will be replaced with a metal and two-ply membrane roof. The roof replacement will be done in phases to address the most critical areas first and should be completed by late November, according to VIPA’s statement.

Materials to repair the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport Terminal’s roof are being shipped to St. Croix where work is expected to begin in six weeks, VIPA reported. The hurricane-damaged roof at the new fire and rescue facility at Rohlsen has already been reconstructed. VIPA is awaiting a certificate of occupancy and plans to begin using the new facility by the end of June.

Airlines continue add flights to the territory:

– United Airlines has resumed its Saturdays-only service from Dulles and Houston to St. Thomas. The airline will have daily flights from June 7 through August 20 from Dulles, and a Saturdays-only flight from Newark in late August.

– On May 24, Spirit Airlines began non-stop service between Fort Lauderdale and St. Croix three times a week. The same day, Delta reinstated its daily New York to St. Thomas service. It already has two daily flights from Atlanta.

– July 2, LIAT returns to St. Thomas July with flights from Antigua three times a week.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection clearance at VIPA’s seaports in St. John has been a major challenge since the hurricanes last September because most of VIPA’s marine facilities in Cruz Bay were destroyed. But temporary arrangements have been made to bring some relief to mariners.

Starting on the week of June 4, Customs will clear pleasure-craft vessels at the Victor Sewer Marine Facility (The Creek) in Cruz Bay.

VIPA’s board approved the construction of a temporary U.S. Customs checkpoint inside the Urman Fredericks Marine Terminal in Red Hook, St. Thomas, for screening foreign arrival passenger ferries. Issues with a previous contractor delayed it. VIPA re-bid the project and received the bids on May 18.

VIPA projects construction will take four weeks and the temporary checkpoint should be operational by July. All foreign arrival passenger ferries will continue to clear Customs at the Edward Blyden Marine Terminal in St. Thomas until the temporary checkpoint at the Red Hook Terminal is built.

Other ongoing VIPA port improvement projects include:

– The two-level parking garage at the Urman Fredericks Terminal in Red Hook is expected to be completed by August.

– Designs for a new air cargo facility at HERA and a new marine terminal building for the Container port on St. Croix have been submitted to VIPA for review.

– VIPA is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine when the permit for the dredging of the Schooner Bay Channel will be issued. This dredging will allow mini-cruise and other luxury vessels to berth at Gallows Bay in Christiansted.

– The Port Authority has applied to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Coastal Zone Management Commission to dredge about 232,000 cubic yards of material from Charlotte Amalie Harbor. This federally-funded dredging will allow Oasis-class vessels to berth at the West Indian Company Dock in Havensight, St. Thomas.