Cable lands on island

Expected to be installed by next week
Fri, 06/24/2016 - 12:30pm

The cable-laying-barge called Big Max hasarrived off Block Island’s Fred Benson Town Beach, carrying National Grid’s 30-megawatt sea2shore submarine cable that will connect the island to the mainland. The Big Max reached the island on the evening of Tuesday, June 21.

Shortly thereafter, National Grid began installing the cable to the beach.

Town Manager Nancy Dodge told The Block Island Times that, “The weather has cooperated and it appears National Grid will make the new schedule. It has been an operation worth watching.”

After enduring weather delays, it took Big Max a total of 11 days after being connected at Scarborough Beach, to install the cable six feet beneath the seabed in 20 miles of state and federal waters, averaging about half a nautical mile per day and, at one point, having to navigate over some telecommunication cables, to arrive at the island.

The National Grid owned cable will provide a link to the utility’s mainland electrical grid and eight strands of fiber optic cable for the town’s broadband Internet purposes. The construction zone from the north parking lot to the surf zone at the beach has been fenced off to isolate National Grid’s installation activity.

The cable transmission system, installed in conjunction with the Block Island Wind Farm, calls for National Grid’s sea2shore cable to be spliced with its land cable in the Town Beach’s north parking lot. From there the land cable runs along Corn Neck Road to Beach Avenue and will connect to a substation that National Grid is constructing on the Block Island Power Company’s Ocean Avenue property.  

National Grid has completed its tie-in of the cable at Scarborough Beach in Narragansett. The company’s Media Relations Director David Graves told The Times that its sea2shore cable was spliced with the land cable at Scarborough Beach on Thursday, June 9 at 9 p.m.

“Two technicians spliced the undersea cable and the underground landline together in the manhole in the Scarborough Beach parking lot,” said Graves.

Regarding the Scarborough Beach milestone, Frederick Raymond, National Grid’s Vice President, Project Management, said, “This is one significant piece of a very large project that has other components to install and test on both the mainland and the island. We remain confident that we will meet the project milestones that have been set by the team.”

At its June 15 meeting, the New Shoreham Town Council granted National Grid a deadline extension to June 30 for removing its equipment from the Town Beach. The original deadline was May 15 with seven floating days until June 21. National Grid said it is confident that it will meet the June 30 deadline.