UPDATED: Extension cable for submarine power line that feeds Ocracoke arrives in Hatteras

The cable was offloaded Friday afternoon near the Hatteras ferry dock. [image courtesy Tideland EMC/Daniel Pullen]

The cable that will extend the submarine power line that runs across Hatteras Inlet to provide electricity to Ocracoke has been delivered to the southern tip of Hatteras Island.

A tractor-trailer hauling the massive reel of cable made the trek from Virginia to Hatteras village on Friday.

Tideland EMC has poles and lines that run south of Ramp 55 in Cape Hatteras National Seashore along what’s known as the Pole Road to connect their delivery point at Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative’s Hatteras substation to the existing submarine cable to Ocracoke.

Since Hurricane Isabel in 2003, 1.5 miles of the southern tip of Hatteras Island has been eroded by the inlet and Atlantic Ocean. That erosion has increased dramatically since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Tideland EMC image

In 2015, Tideland began the process of seeking a Special Use Permit from the National Park Service in anticipation of an eventual mitigation project.

Earlier this month, construction crews began preparing to install a 9,700-foot extension starting at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.

The cable will be spliced into the existing 20,450 feet of submarine cable that crosses Hatteras Inlet.

[graphic courtesy Howard Creech/Tideland EMC
Tideland posted on their Facebook page Thursday afternoon that the massive spool of cable had arrived by ship in Portsmouth and had been loaded onto a specialty trailer.


The truck awaiting nightfall before heading to North Carolina. [Tideland EMC]
Due to the size of the load it can only be transported at night through Virginia. North Carolina traffic regulations required that the truck not cross the state line in Moyock until daylight.

Once the cable is buried, the most delicate part of the job will take place, similar to what had to happen from the 2017 blackout due to cut power lines at Oregon Inlet.

Cross-section of the cable. [Tideland EMC]
“Not only will crews have to splice each of the three electric lines, they’ll be tasked with splicing the fiber optic cable as well that resides within the armored cable. That portion of the job alone is expected to take between 24 and 48 hours,” Tideland Cooperative said.

The connections will be made inside a splice box, which will then be filled with a composite material to guard against water intrusion.

“Thus far, the splice boxes on either end of the existing submarine cable have been problem-free and are now nearing their twentieth year of service,” the co-op said.

Depending upon weather and other conditions the construction project take up to three months to complete.

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Sam Walker is news director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and Classic Rock 92.3. Reach him at sam@obxtoday.com

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