By Joy Crist, Island Free Press
A late 2019 project to install submarine power lines on Pole Road in Hatteras village will begin after the excavation of nine recently discovered “anomalies” that are located in the project’s underground path.
The project, which is orchestrated by Tideland Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) with a Special Use Permit issued by the National Park Service, will remove the aerial power lines from Pole Road at the southern end of Hatteras Island, switching to a submarine cable that will be far more reliable in the years to come.
Formally known as ORV Ramp 55, (but referred to by Hatteras locals as “Pole Road” due to the overhead power lines), this section of shoreline that borders Hatteras Inlet has lost an estimated 1.5 miles of land since Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
Pole Road is also the hand-off point from Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative to Tideland EMC, with the string of aerial power lines and submarine cables providing the connection to power for Ocracoke Island. With the shoreline gradually disappearing, a move to submarine cables is required to ensure that this connection stays intact.
As a preliminary step for the project, the Tideland EMC team recently examined the underground route where the lines will be installed, and they found nine potential anomalies that need to be investigated before the installation work can begin. The anomalies were discovered with a ground-penetrating radar and magnetometer – a device that is similar to a radar detector, and which detects magnetism.
“These [nine sites] are basically areas where there is something in the ground that they want to investigate further before starting the project,” said Michael Barber, Public Affairs Specialist for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. “We’re going to have an archeologist on site to determine if it’s a cultural artifact in the ground, but we don’t know at the moment what, specifically, the anomalies could be.”
The excavation work will occur during the week of September 9. Portions of Pole Road will be temporarily closed during the week, but beach detours will be available for ORV and pedestrian visitors.
The roughly $3 million dollar endeavor will begin in earnest in early December if all preliminary work goes well, and the submarine line installation is expected to be completed within one to three months.