Designs for a new West End ferry terminal are finalised and under review as the Recovery and Development Agency prepares to invite tenders from four bidders who prequalified. (Graphic: RDA)

The designs for the new West End ferry terminal have been finalised, and bidding will start soon to select a contractor to build the facility by mid-2026, according to Communications and Works Minister Kye Rymer.

“The full design set — including structural, architectural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing drawings — as well as the environmental and social management plan have been submitted by the design consultant and are currently being reviewed,” Mr. Rymer said last week in the House of Assembly. “A preliminary conditional approval of submitted architectural drawings has been received from the Town and Country Planning Department.”

Prequalified bidders

Also in recent weeks, four of nine bidders prequalified after applying to the Recovery and Development Agency before an Aug. 31 deadline, Mr. Rymer said during an Oct. 31 HOA meeting.

This prequalification process is the second one: During a previous one that launched in May, the RDA — which is overseeing the project — disqualified all nine firms that took part. But for the August process, the RDA relaxed the qualification criteria.

“I am particularly pleased to highlight that three local firms (one standalone applicant and two firms within a joint-venture application) were successful in the second round of the prequalification process,” Mr. Rymer said. “This underscores the ability of our local contractors to succeed in the competitive bidding processes.”

The project is being funded through part of the $65 million Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Loan that the government obtained from the Caribbean Development Bank after hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

Next steps

After the TCPD approves the full set of design drawings, government will seek the CDB’s approval of the tender documentation. Then the RDA will launch the full tender process, inviting the four prequalified companies to bid.

“Based on the current status and progress of the project, the RDA anticipates that the tender process will begin by early next year and conclude within approximately eight weeks,” Mr. Rymer said.

2026 Target

Construction is then expected to begin by the end of the second quarter of 2024 and continue for two years, according to the minister.

“The proposed 42,000-square-foot facility will more than double the size of the previous facility and will be designed to process up to 200 passengers per hour, or 200,000 passengers per year,” Mr. Rymer said. “It will provide a fast and efficient facility for immigration and customs processing, with separate handling for private and charter yachts, private boats and water taxis from ferry passengers.”

Airport plans

The minister also stressed the importance of developing the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport as part of a larger plan to improve access to the territory.

“Expansion of the airport is aimed at facilitating an increase in direct flights to the territory from the mainland United States and creating direct routes from Europe, while the West End ferry terminal will cater to private and charter yachts, private boats and water taxis as well as facilitating reliable access for ferry passengers from the neighbouring [United States] VI and between Jost Van Dyke and Tortola,” Mr. Rymer said last week.