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Tortola Pier expansion in BVI well underway

Published:Tuesday | April 28, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Tortola Pier expansion in BVI well under way

A key point of interest for delegates to the upcoming Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is that territory's Cruise Pier Expansion Project, which is reportedly on track for its summer 2015 completion deadline. The cruise pier development is said to be one of the largest projects undertaken by the government of the Virgin Islands and the BVI Ports Authority.

The US$57-million project is intended to lengthen, widen and strengthen the existing cruise pier in Tortola to accommodate larger classes of ships. The pier will be extended from 230m (755ft) to 398m (1,312ft) and widened from 9.9m (32ft) to 18.3m (60ft).

5-acre landside


Additionally, it will see the creation of a five-acre landside development featuring retail, commercial, entertainment and green spaces to be named Tortola Pier Park.

This development will showcase more than 20 buildings, including the Royal Customs House, Black Swan Tavern and The Exchange, which will highlight some of BVI's architecture.

The park will also feature a chapel garden, cricket lawn, swimming pool, a boardwalk and enhancements to the excursion dock.

Here are some project highlights:

• The BVI Ports Authority has signed berthing agreements with both Disney and Norwegian Cruise Lines that guarantee a 425,000-passenger minimum annual guarantee. Beginning May 1, passenger tax will be increased from $7 to $15. BVI anticipates a minimum of 650,000 passenger arrivals for the 2015-2016 cruise season.

• Marine contractors, IDL Projects, and Meridian Construction Joint Venture Company Ltd is responsible for all marine works specifically lengthening the pier to 1,312 feet, widening to 60 feet, and strengthening to accommodate 180,000 gross registered tonnages. It is also responsible for dredging in and around the pier facility and turning basin to allow safer manoeuvring of ships; removal of existing rip rap or rock face that currently protects the land and replacing same with a bulkhead for better protection of landside; and establishing a 20-foot boardwalk along the southern coastline, which will eventually handle pedestrian traffic

• Landside contractors, Ports and Marina Services Ltd is responsible for site enabling and substructure works for the landside development that specifically entails demolition, piling and placement of concrete slabs.