As the Jug Handle Bridge rapidly approaches its completion, with an expected opening date of February or March of 2022, the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative (CHEC) has also been hard at work on its own corresponding project to move power to the new 2.4-mile-long structure.
The power delivered to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands is exclusively provided by the transmission line that runs parallel to the existing highway, and currently, that route includes the stretch between Rodanthe and Pea Island that the new bridge will eventually bypass.
Once the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) completes the Jug Handle Bridge, and traffic is shifted, NCDOT will immediately begin removing the asphalt, dunes, and sandbags that are in the current highway right-of-way, leaving CHEC’s transmission line exposed to the elements, and not easily accessible.
As a result, CHEC is working to move the transmission line to a secure locale under the new bridge, and CHEC has awarded a contract to New River Electrical to complete the job of installing the hanger, conduit, and cables under the structure.
New River, and its subcontractor Aptus, have already begun work at the bridge site, but as NCDOT completes their project and traffic is shifted onto the bridge, CHEC’s work will continue, requiring minor traffic delays and possible planned power outages.
CHEC crews are expected to complete the cable installation and required splicing by the end of 2022, and the “new” cable to the islands is expected to be complete by February of 2023.
“Our contractor plans to work until the end of May, during daylight hours, Mondays through Fridays,” stated CHEC in the most recent January 2022 issue of the Carolina Country Magazine. “We will pause our on-bridge work from June until September, to avoid disrupting summer traffic. After the peak of the tourist season, work will begin again, with completion expected by December 2022. The new transmission line will be energized in 2023.”
“To continue enjoying the life that we have on the island, we all will need to make minor sacrifices for the duration of this project. We don’t expect these hardships to extend much beyond some traffic delays, but there is the potential for power outages as well.”
“We’ve worked hard to earn the trust and respect of our members by providing exceptional service and a commitment to safety. This is a complex project and we need to anticipate potential issues. We would ask everyone to be patient and understanding, knowing that our hard-working crews are doing all they can to continue to provide you with the best service possible while staying safe themselves.”
The full update from CHEC can be viewed in the January 2022 issue of the Carolina Country Magazine, and for frequently asked questions, project timelines, and photos, CHEC members can also access https://chec.coop/rodanthebridge.