Sea2shore Cable Reburial Project Paused for Summer Tourism Season
Unexpected construction complications delay anticipated project completion;
As Memorial Day nears, focus shifts to ensuring beach access and town facilities are ready for summer
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- National Grid announced today that unexpected construction complications are delaying the completion of the reburial of the sea2shore cable, requiring the Company to pause construction for the summer tourism season, conduct a detailed assessment and then resume work in the fall.
The sea2shore cable was to be installed this spring through a new underwater conduit pipe that was built during the winter months. As final preparations for the installation were being completed, unexpected material causing partial obstructions was discovered within the pipe. The Company has been working with the pipe installer and cable installer to remove the material, but it has been determined that a more detailed assessment is needed to understand the source of the material and to ensure a successful cable installation.
“This was an extremely difficult decision, but we recognize the importance of the summer tourism season for the Block Island community,” said Terry Sobolewski, President of National Grid Rhode Island. “We need to assess what is causing these obstructions, how best to get the pipe cleared, and ultimately complete the installation with confidence in the fall. We’re disappointed we won’t be able to get the cable completed by Memorial Day as we planned, but this is a very complex construction project. We’d rather get it right in the fall than try to rush completion of it now.”
Sobolewski stressed that the impact on the community was a driving factor in the decision, “After the challenges posed in the last year by COVID-19, we could not take the risk of having prolonged construction activity impacting the upcoming summer season. At this time, we feel it’s better to pause work immediately, get the area restored for the summer season, and reset for completion in the fall.”
The submarine cables were originally installed in 2016 and subsequently experienced challenges with sediment coverage over nearshore sections of the cables. After extensive due diligence, teams from Ørsted and National Grid determined the best approach to maintain required burial depths of the two submarine cables is to reinstall these limited segments of the cables with new sections adjacent to where the existing cables now sit.
Over the fall and winter, National Grid and Ørsted conducted a horizontal directional drill (HDD), and installed a conduit for the new length of onshore cable, including a new access pit. The unexpected material in National Grid’s conduit was discovered in the past few weeks, just prior to the cable being pulled through the conduit, and both the Town of New Shoreham and the Block Island Power Company were briefed on the potential issue in short order.
National Grid and Ørsted worked in close collaboration with the Town of New Shoreham, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other key agencies to receive the necessary permits and to keep stakeholders informed of the plans.
With the project delayed, National Grid contractors will begin cleaning up the areas where construction has occurred to date, including those parking lot areas around the Town Beach. Crews and barges will also be removed by Memorial Day weekend.
Block Island and Rhode Island have continued to receive electricity from the wind farm during the construction to date.
National Grid will seek to secure extensions on permits to allow work in the fall.
About National Grid
About National Grid: National Grid (NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through our networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. National Grid is transforming our electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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