The first pair of 10 mega propane storage tanks will arrive on St. Thomas over the weekend and V.I. Water and Power Authority officials announced Thursday a detailed traffic plan that will help get the 3,000 ton containers through Sub Base and up to the Randolph Harley Power Plant for installation.
During a press conference Thursday, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said the tanks will come in Saturday night, which will allow all necessary road blocks and barricades to be put in place before they begin to move “at the crack of dawn” on Sunday morning.
Hodge said the tanks will come by barge from the St. Croix Container Port into Crown Bay, close to the entrance of the marina, and will be transported down the road adjacent to the facility, pass in front of Public Works, make the right by the WAPA headquarters and continue along a newly created roadway that leads uphill to an area overlooking the authority’s Krum Bay plant.
All of this is part of detailed traffic plan that Hodge said has been posted on www.viwapa.vi so that the public can see exactly what the movement is and what roads will be affected Sunday.
“We know what it means to have a road cut off, what the impact could be to a business in the area, but we also know what the significance of this project is to the community,” Hodge said. The authority is coordinating the moving of the tanks with a range of other agencies, including the V.I. Port Authority, Public Works, V.I. Police Department, Property and Procurement and Innovative, and will also be reaching out to businesses set up along the route to advise of them of what the changes will be so that they could “mitigate or minimize any impact” to their operations.
The authority is also asking that any cars and trailers parked along the route be moved by Sunday.
Hodge said eight more tanks will be deployed over the next couple weeks, with the final set being delivered on Feb. 26.
Hodge said getting the storage tanks in place is a critical component of WAPA’s ongoing propane conversion project, which aims to reduce the territory’s 100 percent dependence on oil and lower the cost of electricity for ratepayers.
“The lower cost of propane and a reduction in oil prices on the market have resulted in lower utility rates this month and further reductions are expected by the middle of the summer when both power plans will be burning 100 percent propane,” he said.
Hodge also assured the public that the tanks, which will be empty on Sunday, will be installed with redundant safety mechanisms and encased in concrete mounds onsite at the plant. A similar set up is in place on St. Croix, which received its first eight tanks last October.