The Port Authority Governing Board discussed several pending projects, including construction of the new South Tender Landing Pier on St. Croix, and picked Eleven Construction for the work during its monthly board meeting Wednesday.
“We’ve been working rather diligently on many of the projects that you’ll hear about today,” said Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe.
Relating to marine traffic, one of the action items on the board’s agenda included the bid proposal for the South Tender Landing Pier. Plans call for replacing the existing deteriorated tender landing pier of the Ann E. Abramson Marine Terminal with a new service pier measuring about 80 feet long by 15 feet wide at the southside of the terminal.
“We’re recommending that the board accept Eleven Construction, LLC bid price in the amount of $1,708,000 to construct the Anne E. Abramson South Tender Landing Pier,” Dale Gregory, director of engineering at the Port Authority, told the board.
Public bidding for the project took place Aug. 12, with Eleven Construction placing a $1.7 million bid and Underwater Mechanix placing a $2.4 million bid. After Port Authority consultants reviewed the bids, they recommended that Eleven Construction receive the project.
“We’re concurring with their recommendation in awarding the contract to Eleven Construction, who we’re very familiar with because they’ve worked for the Port Authority in the past. They were the ones that built the parking structure at Red Hook. They are the ones that are currently dredging at the Gordon Finch Molasses Pier, and they’ve done several other projects within the Virgin Islands,” Gregory said.
According to Gregory, the project will be funded in part by a grant from the V.I. Legislature.
“This pier, tender pier, is very important in the operation of our cruise ship facility. It services all those dive boats that operate in Frederiksted, it services all the tours and tour vessels that come to Frederiksted, people going fishing and people going out on marine tours. And the existing pier is too high for commercial vessels to operate from,” said Gregory. “It will be a source of revenue for Port Authority as well.”
According to the Port Authority, the South Tender Landing Pier has been in dire need of repair for several years. With hurricanes Irma and Maria, the pier was completely destroyed, and funding has been difficult to allocate to the structure from the Port Authority’s operational revenue and insurance.
The repair consists of constructing a 1,100-square-foot concrete pile-supported pier with a 10-foot-wide concrete stair landing to facilitate water access. Gregory said, “It’s critical to any cruise ship pier operation to have a small tender pier that caters to the vessels that provide the services and tours that the cruise industry needs.”
On Aug. 18, the Celebrity Equinox made a port call at the Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility. It was the first cruise vessel to make an appearance to the island in over a year.
“For approximately 18 months, St. Croix in particular, has not seen a cruise ship. Just recently we had our first visit to St. Croix. I think it went off rather well,” said Dowe, who noted “the excitement of the people, the traffic, the vendors, the taxi drivers, the restaurants.”
“There will be an increase in vessels coming to St. Thomas this year but they expect for us to increase ships going to St. Croix as well,” said Dowe. According to Gregory, the renovation of the pier “will be a crucial piece of the puzzle to keep Frederiksted functioning.”
Board members Attorney General Denise George, Derek Gabriel, Lionel Jacobs, Willard John, Leona Smith, and Celestino A. White Sr. unanimously approved the bid proposal.
Other action items included the poll vote ratification of the appointment of Ava Penn to the position of Director of Financial Affairs and the Airport Rescue Grant, both with unanimous affirmations.