80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Friday, July 1, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesHARBOR-WICO DOCK DREDGING GETS CZM GO-AHEAD

HARBOR-WICO DOCK DREDGING GETS CZM GO-AHEAD

The St. Thomas committee of the Coastal Zone Management Commission voted 3-0 Wednesday night to grant the Port Authority a permit for dredging of the St. Thomas harbor so newer, bigger cruise ships scheduled to begin arriving in October can berth at the West Indian Co. dock.
There was no disagreement with the comment of committee member Austin "Babe" Monsanto shortly before the vote: "This project is a must. The ships are coming."
Committee chair Albert Paiewonsky introduced the topic by reviewing previous testimony that an estimated 200,000 cubic yards of silt and sand, known as spoils, would need to be dredged from the harbor floor and disposed of elsewhere.
Minutes later, Port Authority planner Darlan Brin delivered the unexpected news that a new study had determined that "they only have to dredge about 105,000 cubic yards instead of 200,000" to deepen the intended harbor and dock areas to the desired 35 feet. He did not elaborate on the basis for the new projections.
The vote approved the permit with various conditions recommended by CZM director Janice Hodge. These include compliance with water-quality standards, the use of a "silt curtain" to prevent the spoils from slipping back into the water, working only in daylight and dredging the harbor no deeper than 35 feet.
Most of the discussion prior to the vote centered on minimizing the impact on traffic flow and road conditions of transporting the dredged material to its intended destinations – the Crown Bay landfill and the Bovoni dump.
Brin explained that some of the material will be barged to Crown Bay, but a greater portion will be barged to the Long Bay landfill owned by WICO and then "trucked from there to Bovoni."
Committee member William Newbold did some quick math, working from the figure of 105,000 cubic yards, and projected that moving that much, assuming it was all destined for the dump, would entail "15 to 20 truckloads to Bovoni a day for a year – something like 5,000 to 6,000 loads." He asked Brin whether "you plan to go down Donkey Hill" with the loaded trucks.
It was noted that during WICO dock-maintenance dredging three years ago, trucks carried loads east to Bovoni via Raphune Hill and returned up Donkey Hill empty.
Newbold expressed concerns that the truck movements "could be an imposition on traffic flow" in Havensight, at Mandela Circle and on the eastbound roads, especially during the late afternoon drive time.
Paiewonsky said he would oppose any trucking at night "because the noise of those trucks going through the streets would be just as disturbing to the residential neighborhoods as the traffic."
Brin said licensed truckers would be contracted for the work and that the anticipated hours of work are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There was consensus to ask truckers to voluntarily minimize traffic disruptions in the late afternoon.
Initially, the Port Authority had presented the dredging project as maintenance work and asked to have the need for a permit waived. The CZM committee rejected the argument and the Port Authority then applied for the permit.
Also, earlier plans included depositing part of the spoils in a depression on the sea floor of Lindbergh Bay caused by dredging there decades ago in connection with the construction of the St. Thomas airport. Instead, the Port Authority decided to take part of the material to the Crown Bay landfill for eventual use in an expansion of the docks there and to deposit the remainder at the Long Bay landfill, for subsequent trucking to Bovoni.
Brin said Port Authority executive director Gordon Finch is in Miami this week meeting with officials of two cruise lines that want to see the Crown Bay docks expanded. He is also meeting with officials of the Star Center, a consulting firm that recently carried out one feasibility study of such an expansion and has now been contracted to do another that envisions larger ships.
According to Brin, if the Crown Bay expansion project goes forward, the dredged material from the St. Thomas harbor should be put to use as fill there "in mid-2001."
The St. Thomas CZM committee by law consists of five members. There are two vacancies. The terms of Paiewonsky and Newbold expired in 1995 and that of Monsanto in 1996; however, members continue to serve until their successors are sworn in. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull has renominated Monsanto and nominated other individuals to the remaining four seats. The nominations are awaiting legislative approval.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,757FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
The St. Thomas committee of the Coastal Zone Management Commission voted 3-0 Wednesday night to grant the Port Authority a permit for dredging of the St. Thomas harbor so newer, bigger cruise ships scheduled to begin arriving in October can berth at the West Indian Co. dock.
There was no disagreement with the comment of committee member Austin "Babe" Monsanto shortly before the vote: "This project is a must. The ships are coming."
Committee chair Albert Paiewonsky introduced the topic by reviewing previous testimony that an estimated 200,000 cubic yards of silt and sand, known as spoils, would need to be dredged from the harbor floor and disposed of elsewhere.
Minutes later, Port Authority planner Darlan Brin delivered the unexpected news that a new study had determined that "they only have to dredge about 105,000 cubic yards instead of 200,000" to deepen the intended harbor and dock areas to the desired 35 feet. He did not elaborate on the basis for the new projections.
The vote approved the permit with various conditions recommended by CZM director Janice Hodge. These include compliance with water-quality standards, the use of a "silt curtain" to prevent the spoils from slipping back into the water, working only in daylight and dredging the harbor no deeper than 35 feet.
Most of the discussion prior to the vote centered on minimizing the impact on traffic flow and road conditions of transporting the dredged material to its intended destinations – the Crown Bay landfill and the Bovoni dump.
Brin explained that some of the material will be barged to Crown Bay, but a greater portion will be barged to the Long Bay landfill owned by WICO and then "trucked from there to Bovoni."
Committee member William Newbold did some quick math, working from the figure of 105,000 cubic yards, and projected that moving that much, assuming it was all destined for the dump, would entail "15 to 20 truckloads to Bovoni a day for a year – something like 5,000 to 6,000 loads." He asked Brin whether "you plan to go down Donkey Hill" with the loaded trucks.
It was noted that during WICO dock-maintenance dredging three years ago, trucks carried loads east to Bovoni via Raphune Hill and returned up Donkey Hill empty.
Newbold expressed concerns that the truck movements "could be an imposition on traffic flow" in Havensight, at Mandela Circle and on the eastbound roads, especially during the late afternoon drive time.
Paiewonsky said he would oppose any trucking at night "because the noise of those trucks going through the streets would be just as disturbing to the residential neighborhoods as the traffic."
Brin said licensed truckers would be contracted for the work and that the anticipated hours of work are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There was consensus to ask truckers to voluntarily minimize traffic disruptions in the late afternoon.
Initially, the Port Authority had presented the dredging project as maintenance work and asked to have the need for a permit waived. The CZM committee rejected the argument and the Port Authority then applied for the permit.
Also, earlier plans included depositing part of the spoils in a depression on the sea floor of Lindbergh Bay caused by dredging there decades ago in connection with the construction of the St. Thomas airport. Instead, the Port Authority decided to take part of the material to the Crown Bay landfill for eventual use in an expansion of the docks there and to deposit the remainder at the Long Bay landfill, for subsequent trucking to Bovoni.
Brin said Port Authority executive director Gordon Finch is in Miami this week meeting with officials of two cruise lines that want to see the Crown Bay docks expanded. He is also meeting with officials of the Star Center, a consulting firm that recently carried out one feasibility study of such an expansion and has now been contracted to do another that envisions larger ships.
According to Brin, if the Crown Bay expansion project goes forward, the dredged material from the St. Thomas harbor should be put to use as fill there "in mid-2001."
The St. Thomas CZM committee by law consists of five members. There are two vacancies. The terms of Paiewonsky and Newbold expired in 1995 and that of Monsanto in 1996; however, members continue to serve until their successors are sworn in. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull has renominated Monsanto and nominated other individuals to the remaining four seats. The nominations are awaiting legislative approval.