The replacement of overhead power lines with a submarine cable at the southern end of Hatteras Island along Pole Road, (or ORV Ramp 55), is continuing to make progress, per a recent online update from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The project, which is managed by Tideland Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) via a Special Use Permit from the National Park Service, will improve reliability of electric service to Ocracoke Island by placing a power line under Pole Road and removing the lines overhead. Erosion at the southern end of Hatteras Island and washouts along Pole Road have increased enough in recent years that the integrity of the overhead lines are at risk.
As of Tuesday, 5,500’ ft. of cable has been installed, which is 600’ ft. past the halfway point, as Tideland EMC crews continue to install cable through the large washed-over area.
Portions of Pole Road remain open for off-road vehicle vehicle access, but drivers should exercise caution in this area due to potential soft areas as the sand continues to settle.
Before the end of the week, the entrance to Pole Road will be closed as the cable reel moves closer to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.
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 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.
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 also continue to serve as an off-road vehicle route after the project is completed.