The Cape Hatteras National Seashore has issued a Special Use Permit to Tideland Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) for a project that will improve the reliability of electric service to Ocracoke Island by replacing an overhead pole line with an underground cable along Pole Road in Hatteras, North Carolina. The project is expected to begin in January 2020.
The overhead pole line, which runs 1.75 miles along Seashore property near the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum to the south end of Hatteras Island, is being replaced with an underground cable because the erosion at the south end of the island and washouts along Pole Road have increased enough in recent years that the integrity and reliability of the overhead line are at risk. The power line is the sole source of electricity to the 1,385 electrical customers on Ocracoke Island.
The route along Pole Road was chosen for the underground cable to minimize the environmental impact of trenching dunes and the vegetated areas of the island.
Public access along sections of Pole Road will be periodically impacted during this important project; however, the construction will be completed in four segments to ensure beach access is available for visitor enjoyment. Detour routes for each segment will be published on the Seashore’s beach access web page.
Construction is estimated to take approximately two months. After the underground cable is installed, the existing overhead line will be removed, which will allow the present line route to return to its natural vegetative state. Pole Road will continue to serve as an off-road vehicle route after the project is completed.