LIPA work stoppage continues, meeting Tuesday for a plan

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Shelter Island Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr. said as of Thursday, LIPA and its contractors didn’t have a plan to proceed yet.

The $9 million project to provide backup for a single aging cable supplying most electrical power to Shelter Island won’t be done by Labor Day.

Or anytime soon.

The work that Long Island Power Authority officials said late last week could take another 20 to 30 days is not only stopped, but a solution is not in place on how to proceed, according to LIPA spokesman Mark Gross.

Delaying the construction project this weekend so as not to  conflict with  Labor Day traffic was not discussed, according to Shelter Island Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr.

“We didn’t talk about it because we don’t know how [LIPA and their contractor] will proceed yet,” Mr. Card said.

At the least, it will be some time late next week before installation of new electric cabling can proceed. Officials have said the total shutdown was caused by a malfunction last Saturday in a drilling rig pulling fused pipes from Crescent Beach to Southold.

On Tuesday, after the holiday, LIPA officials will meet with Bortech, the drilling contractor, to discuss ways to proceed. A similar meeting occurred this past Tuesday with Bortech bringing a couple of ideas to the table, according to Mr. Gross. But he wouldn’t reveal what was discussed.

Calls to Bortech founder and CEO Robert Titanic have been met with no information other than that all questions must go to LIPA.

LIPA asked Bortech officials to put a proposal in writing outlining what they believe is the best solution, Mr. Gross said. That proposal will then be submitted to LIPA’s consultants for input before any work is started.

Threading the pipe through a tunnel 40 feet below the bay bottom was expected to be the last major process of the work that began in the spring and has stretched all through the summer.

The pipe began going into the tunnel on Friday morning, August 23, and work proceeded into Saturday afternoon before the drilling rig malfunctioned and the project was shut down.