The Virgin Islands Port Authority board met on Wednesday, revealing a new Sky High flight route between St. Croix and the Dominican Republic, authorized bids, and approved change orders for some of their active projects.
“The Virgin Islands Port Authority continues to push and develop new air service opportunities for this territory,” said Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe.
He announced international flight service out of the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport will begin on Aug. 23. It will be operating bi-weekly to St. Croix on Wednesdays and Saturdays. When the airline began its service at the Cyril E. King Airport, an Embraer 50-seat aircraft was used. According to Dowe, the support for that route has “been so good” that the airline upgraded to an Embraer-190 that holds 97 passengers. The larger aircraft is now being considered for the St. Croix route.
During his report, Dowe also spoke about the potential closure of the Rohlsen airport due to a down fire truck on June 27. Procurement of the Big Red Barge Co. brought a fire truck from St. Thomas to St. Croix. after receiving last-minute clearance from the U.S. Coast Guard in order to avoid the airport closure. It will remain on St. Croix as a backup and a new apparatus that costs $1 million was ordered and will arrive in St. Thomas in the coming months.
The executive director also noted that he and his staff met with the leadership of the East End Taxi Association to discuss their lease renewal. They likewise met with the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority to discuss the Charlotte Amalie Harbor Dredging Project, Puma representatives in regards to the St. Croix Airport concession, and with VITEMA to discuss hurricane preparedness as it relates to hurricane season 2023.
Pertaining to their projects, the Port Authority board unanimously approved the following items except where noted:
Dry Dock Relocation Feasibility Study: Granted $148,830.00 to Moffatt & Nichol for a hydrographic survey, in-water natural resource survey, geotechnical investigation, MetOcean study, and concept development and assessment in order to relocate the existing dry dock facility for future marine infrastructure use.
Programming, Permitting and Final Design Services of 36 Nisky No. 6 Property: Granted $992,160.00 to Moffat & Nichol for program identification, concept development, project meetings, data collection, field investigations, schematic design development, 60% design package, preparation of construction documents, site and building permitting.
Charlotte Amalie Dredging: Granted $5,250.00 to Moffat & Nichol for expenses relating to travel and shipping. (This expense is not inclusive to the $99,400.00 approved for bid development of the project.)
*Board member Celestino White abstained.
HERA Apron Rehabilitation- Construction Phase Services: Granted $538,886.00 to American Infrastructure Development (AID) for construction phase services for the Apron Rehabilitation project at the Henry E. Rohlsen airport. Will be used to ensure the Apron 2 is suitable for use in parking aircraft and safe operations.
HERA Runway Rehabilitation- Design Phase Services: Granted $596,886.00 to American Infrastructure Development (AID) for design services for the Runway Rehabilitation project at the Henry E. Rohlsen airport.
CEKA Runway Rehabilitation- Design Phase Services: Granted $75,000.00 to Kimley-Horn & Associates for design services for the Runway 10-28 Rehabilitation project at the Cyril E. King airport.
Red Hook Restroom Renovations: Granted $21,060.00 to Continental Construction. This raises the overall cost of the project from $209,817.50 to $230,877.50.
HERA Rehabilitation of Aprons 6, 7, and 2: Accepted bid from Virgin Islands Paving, Inc. for $14,632,951.48.
Opposing bids were SD & C Inc. for $19,956,000.00 and Grace Civil LLC for $21,336,195.00
*Board Member Derek Gabriel voted no.
Red Hook Dredging Projects Status Report: Accepted bid from Divic-Madou Enterprises Inc. for $158,556.00.
Opposing bid was from Custom Builders (Professional Design Builders Inc.) for $1,051,644.00
Of the Red Hook Dredging project, board member Celestino White highlighted that “If this work can be done from $158,000 to even $200,000 and this bid is at one million then we have been shammed.” He added that “This group, Custom Building, is doing so much work for the government of the Virgin Islands…That is really really outrageous. It seems they are putting in bids hoping no one else bids.”
Board members Joseph Boschulte, Derek Gabriel, Lionel Jacob, Willard John, Kevin Rodriguez, Ariel Smith, Leona Smith, and Celestino White were present.