REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Town board met in work session Tuesday.
It’s still undetermined when the new Long Island Power Authority cable project running from Crescent Beach under the bay to the North Fork will kick off from this end.
At Tuesday’s Town Board work session Councilman Peter Reich said he had noticed LIPA engineers surveying the beach and asked Department of Public Works Commissioner Jay Card if he had any idea when the pipeline construction would begin here.
“Haven’t heard a word,” Mr. Card reported.
Originally it was estimated the work would be done by May 15, then by mid-June, and now it seems the timing is open-ended.
The project will require crews scheduled to work 12 hour days, digging a 42-inch wide hole at the beach and running 3,5000 feet of pipe under the bay at a depth up to 40 feet. The pipe will be staged and assembled on West Neck and Shore Roads and on the town-owned golf course at Goat Hill.
Digging has already started on the north side in Greenport and has spurred protest there over anticipated noise, traffic and overall disturbances.
Supervisor Jim Dougherty said he had received a phone call from a “very excited” young Greenport woman “trying to get ammunition to kill the project.” Mr. Dougherty said he just listened and “didn’t say a word.”
Another large project also could be delayed. Mr. Reich asked Mr. Card about work to repair the Second Causeway, which will require reinforcing the Coecles Harbor beachfront with stone gambions, covering them with sand, relandscaping and paving the road.
Mr. Card said it was in the hands of the state to approve the contractors chosen by the town to do the work. He said the grant financing the project had required the use of “disadvantaged businesses” and the state was still involved in paperwork before green lighting the project.
Mr. Reich noted that the LIPA project should “go full speed ahead” but the Second Causeway could be delayed until after Labor Day to minimize disruptions during peak summer months.
Mr. Card agreed.
Reel Point was brought up in the public question section of the work session by Kolina Reiter. Ms. Reiter said it could be a catastrophe environmentally for Coecles Harbor and financially for the fishing industry if another nor’easter blew in and created a breach at Reel Point. Ms. Reiter noted that the salinity in the harbor would rise killing some species of fish and would adversely affect the shellfish population. She also mentioned a change in the shoreline with an increased tidal flow.
The town held its breath last October when Hurricane Sandy blew though, fearing a second mouth of Coecles Harbor from Gardiners Bay. If the tide cut a new inlet into the harbor, it could lead to a reduction in current, triggering an increase in shoaling in the original inlet. This would further restrict access to boaters, who are already having trouble navigating the channel there because of shifting sands.
Suffolk County’s Department of Public Works told town officials last fall that it has committed its hydraulic dredge to be at the mouth of Coecles Harbor sometime between October and January.
But Ms. Reiter and others — including the Waterways Management Advisory Council believe something should be done sooner, especially before hurricane season begins in late summer.
Hoot Sherman weighed in, warning the board, “You’re going to be sitting here next summer with people with beautiful big boats who won’t be able to get in and out [of the harbor]. They’re going to be talking to you.”