LIPA pipeline project stopped for evaluation

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Pipe being pulled into a tunnel by LIPA workers Friday that will run from Crescent Beach to Southold. Work was shut down Saturday when the pipe ran into an obstruction.

The Long Island Power Authority is evaluating a problem that developed Saturday afternoon when the pipe workers were pulling through the tunnel running between Shelter Island and Southold became blocked.

What had been a seemingly flawless process beginning Friday morning came to an abrupt stop Saturday.

Workers are evaluating the situation to determine if the blockage can be opened, according to Shelter Island Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr.

If the workers are unable to open the obstruction, it could become necessary to pull the pipe back to the Shelter Island side and then deal with the tunnel blockage.

This was to be the last major step in a project that began in the spring and has stretched through summer.

LIPA had hoped to remove digging equipment and start threading electrical cable through the pipes this weekend.

Until the company is able to evaluate the situation, there’s no indication of how long this might delay the project. On Friday, before the work stoppage, a LIPA spokesman said the job could be completed within 20 to 30 days.