The Long Island Power Authority has hit a snag with the installation of a new electrical distribution cable from Greenport to Shelter Island, almost doubling the time initially anticipated to complete the project.
The work, which started in April, was scheduled for completion by Memorial Day. But the job will continue – 12 hours a day, seven days a week – through August, said Nick Lizanich, LIPA’s vice president of transmission and distribution operations.
The $9 million project requires drilling a nearly mile-long hole 90 feet below the bay’s bottom. It connects in Greenport at the intersection of Bay Shore Road and Island View Lane.
Mr. Lizanich said Bortech, the company contracted to do the work, is having difficulty drilling.
“That bottom, it is a little unpredictable,” Mr. Lizanich said. “It depends on what they encounter. You’re getting to different rock, mud, muck,”
That’s not what area residents, who had asked LIPA to push the work back until after the summer season, wanted to hear.
“Were going into the Fourth of July and we can’t even have guests come out to our house,” said Celia Swing, whose Greenport home abuts the work site. “We thought it would be finished. We just want to be in our own home.”
At the family’s request, LIPA provided Ms. Swing and her husband, Robert, with a condominium to use for the duration of the work. But the couple, who say they look forward to summers on the water, question the quality of LIPA’s project planning.
“LIPA has been understanding, but it doesn’t make the project better,” said Ms. Swing. “If they’re facing issues, close it down and re-evaluate it.”
She added, “We’re like vagabonds. We had to leave because of Sandy. We come back to get our house back together, now we are out again. It’s just been awful.”
Jessica Kerr, a resident of Island View Lane, said the drilling noise is intolerable.
“The noise starts at 7 a.m. and continues until 7 p.m.,” she said. “We must keep our windows closed and use air conditioners to try to block out the noise.
The new line will replace a more than 20-year-old cable that failed after Hurricane Sandy, leaving Shelter Island residents with a greater potential for power outages as usage spikes over the summer months, Mr. Lizanich said.
Because of the extended deadline, LIPA will be transporting standby generators to the island “just so that if something were to break we would have adequate capacity to serve customers on Shelter Island,” said Mr. Lizanich.
He said he doesn’t anticipate the project’s cost will rise significantly. “The way the contract was set up it gives us the latitudes that time is not an issue,” he said.