Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) Executive Director David Mapp issued an update on the authority’s hurricane restoration progress post Hurricane Irma, which struck the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 6, and Hurricane Maria which struck on Sept. 19. VIPA sustained over $85 million in hurricane-related damages to its port facilities.
Despite the damages, most ports were reopened shortly after both storms to enable emergency personnel and supplies to arrive as quickly as possible to the territory. Commercial travel and commerce within the U.S.V.I. have also resumed.
Rebuilding VIPA’s air and seaports to ensure a safe and pleasant travel experience is now the foremost priority. Insurance adjusters have completed preliminary assessments and are now conducting more detailed appraisals of VIPA’s facilities. The Port Authority has selected Lemartec as the construction manager at risk for restoration work of its 118 affected properties.
The Cyril E. King Airport (CEKA) Terminal on St. Thomas was severely damaged Irma and Maria. The entire roof was damaged and windows were blown in, which led to extensive flooding and destruction of property. VIPA reopened the King Terminal to limited commercial traffic on Sept. 28 – just nine days after the passing of Maria. This was a remarkable accomplishment given the extent of damages sustained at CEKA. Most airlines have resumed service to St. Thomas, but they are only offering one flight per day until repairs to the terminal are completed.
VIPA is pleased to report that American Airlines has recently added a second daily flight to St. Thomas. The damaged terminal gates have been repaired and the preclearance area at the King Terminal is ready to accept travelers. However, normal operations will not resume until TSA (transportation security) has completed an assessment of its equipment and staffing, which were both affected by the hurricanes. VIPA’s goal is to fully reopen the King Terminal by mid-December.
The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix reopened to commercial traffic on Oct. 5. American Airlines and JetBlue have resumed service to St. Croix.
VIPA’s cruise docking facilities at the Ann Abramson Marine Facility on St. Croix and the Austin Monsanto Marine Facility on St. Thomas are prepared to accept cruise ships. Some of the Crown Bay Center’s stores were damaged and are being repaired.
The Jewel of the Seas, previously scheduled to berth in Crown Bay on Nov. 20, has been repositioned to the West Indian Company Dock at Havensight. Cruise ship schedules for Crown Bay and St. Croix have been released and are available on VIPA’s website: www.viport.com. All cruise schedules are subject to change.
The Edward Blyden Terminal on the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront was being rehabilitated prior to the storms. The new elevator should be ready for public use by December 2017. Additional upgrades to the terminal and hurricane-damage repairs should be completed during the first quarter of 2018.
The two-level parking garage at the Urman V. Fredericks Terminal at Red Hook that was under construction before the storms was wrecked. Reconstruction of the parking garage is now slated to be completed in April 2018.
On St. John, the Theovald Moorehead Facility at Enighed Pond is closed until damaged boats have been removed from the pond. Barges have been temporarily relocated to the Victor Sewer Facility at “The Creek” in Cruz Bay. There are no U.S. Customs clearance services provided on St. John as both the U.S. Customs Building and VIPA’s administrative offices on St. John were destroyed. These buildings will be replaced with modular units. A cleanup of the Loredon Boynes Sr. Dock in Cruz Bay is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 20.
Other Commercial Properties/Bournefield Housing
VIPA has completed initial assessments of all its other commercial properties and the Bournefield Housing Community on St. Thomas, and it continues to make repairs.
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