Don’t expect the noise, dust and traffic disruptions at the foot of Shore Road and Crescent Beach to be over any time soon.
That’s according to LIPA officials reporting at Tuesday’s Town Board work session on its construction of a tunnel for a pipe holding power cables running from the beach under the bottom of the bay to Southold.
It might not be over until the middle of July, according to acting Supervisor Chris Lewis, sitting in for Supervisor Jim Dougherty who was absent.
And “might” is the operative word.
LIPA Field Superintendent Bill Softye said the power company was on it’s third “pilot” drilling, running into difficulties on first two attempts.
“Things seem to be going well this time,” Mr. Softye said. “It’s difficult to predict until we know what kind of material [under the bay] we’ll have all the way across.”
Pipes will begin to be staged on the Ice Pond Park side of New York Avenue this weekend, Mr. Softye said, removing them from the town-owned property adjacent to the Historical Society.
Originally thought to be finished by Memorial Day, then the Fourth of July, it now seems the $9 million project will be running up against August.
Currently there’s only one workable line bringing power to the Island from the North Fork and the new pipeline will provide another. There had been two power cables coming from the north, but Hurricane Sandy knocked one out last autumn. The other power line is old and not completely reliable.
Without a new, reliable energy source and summer bringing a spike in electricity demand, there’s a good chance of overload and blackouts if the new cable isn’t in operation, town and LIPA officials say. On top of that, with hurricane season arriving at the end of the summer, if the Island had only one, unreliable cable from the North Fork, there’s the possibility of a catastrophe.
Councilwoman Chris Lewis said the board was being ”as candid as we can with our population so they don’t have an unrealistic expectation that everything will be neat and tidy and put away by July 4th.”
LIPA officials will brief the board at work sessions every week, Ms. Lewis added.
In other business, the board passed a resolution allowing the Police Department to “take reasonable security precautions” at the 10K Race Saturday. There will be an increased security force in light of the Boston Marathon bombings, Chief James Read said. New York State Troopers and Suffolk County Sheriff Office deputies will beef up the force.
Highway Superintendent Jay Card said work on the Ram Island Causeway will begin soon and should be completed by late August.