Horizontal drilling at Scarborough State Beach to lay the transmission cable that will carry power to and from the Block Island Wind Farm has been more difficult than anticipated, which has led National Grid to ask for an extension on the construction timeline. But work at the beach in Narragansett should be completed by May 24, ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
National Grid will petition the New Shoreham Town Council for a 45-day extension for the cable installation project at Benson Beach on Block Island, because “extensive granite bedrock” at Scarborough has proven difficult to drill though, National Grid spokesman David Graves said.
“The extension is necessary because of issues related to the horizontal direct drilling at Scarborough Beach. There is extensive granite bed rock through which we must drill. This has delayed that portion of the project,” Graves said. “Because we plan to run the cable from Scarborough to the island, the mainland drilling must be completed before we can install the undersea cable. We hope to begin undersea cable installation by the end of May. This means we will still be working at Benson Beach on the island during June, but finished before the start of the peak summer season. To speed the drilling at Scarborough we have shortened the drilling path from 3,000 feet to 2,250 feet and adjusted engineering procedures and improved equipment. We plan to be finished at Scarborough [State] Beach by May 24 and Benson Beach by June 25.”
The delay will not impact the overall construction schedule of the Block Island Wind Farm, which is expected to go online in the fall. The cable installation project was originally scheduled to end May 15, with an additional seven days of work allowed anytime between May 15 and June 15, if needed. National Grid seeks to extend that to June 30.
Reached for comment Tuesday, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said the wind farm will still be on schedule.
“We’re working closely with National Grid to keep this important project on schedule. We want to extend our thanks to the residents of Block Island for their continuing patience and understanding as we make some necessary adjustments to the timeline and complete this work,” Grybowski said.
In an April 17 email on the transmission cable project, called Sea2Shore, National Grid officials said work will continue over the coming weeks.
“Crews will continue with the horizontal directional drilling from the Scarborough State Beach parking lot, and with the off-shore reaming process (making the pilot hole larger to accept the conduit). This work requires dive teams and boats offshore. The boats will remain anchored in place [weather permitting] for several weeks until the drilling process is complete,” officials said in a statement.
The road work will also continue.
“Crews will continue survey work along Route 108, moving north toward South Kingstown. This work requires the use of asphalt cutting equipment and vacuum trucks, which can generate higher levels of noise,” the statement said. “The installation of manholes and duct banks, which involves excavating portions of the roadway, continues on Route 108 between the new [Ted Wright Rotary] and existing Wakefield substations, as well as between Clarke Road and Kinney Avenue. To date, crews have completed approximately 70 percent of the manhole work and 50 percent of the duct bank work. A police detail will be on site to maintain traffic patterns and temporary detours may be put into place. All work will be completed during daytime hours.”
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