VIPA Updates Public on Hurricane Restoration Progress
Virgin Islands Port Authority Executive Director David Mapp issued an update on the Authority’s hurricane restoration progress post Hurricane Irma, which struck the US Virgin Islands on September 6, and Hurricane Maria which struck on September 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 timely to the territory. Commercial travel and commerce within the US Virgin Islands 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 Terminal on St. Thomas was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma and again by Hurricane Maria, less than two weeks later. The entire roof was damaged and windows were blown in, which led to extensive flooding and destruction of property. The Port Authority reopened the King terminal to limited commercial traffic on September 28, 2017 – 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 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 has completed an assessment of its equipment and staffing, which were both affected by the hurricanes. VIPA’s goal is to fully reopen the CEKA Terminal by mid-December 2017.
- The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix reopened to commercial traffic on October 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 November 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 US Customs clearance services provided on St. John as both the US Customs Building and VIPA’s administrative offices on St. John were destroyed. These buildings will be replaced with modular units. A clean-up of the Loredon Boynes, Sr. Dock in Cruz Bay is scheduled for Monday, November 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 continues to make repairs.
Updates regarding VIPA’s progress will be posted on VIPA’s Website www.viport.com or www.facebook.com/usviports. The Port Authority asks travelers to pardon the appearance at our facilities as renovations are underway. VIPA thanks the public for their continued patience as we work to rebuild our port facilities, which serve as the gateways to our islands and our economy. Questions may be directed to the public relations office at (340) 774-1629 or firstname.lastname@example.org.