A rock ridge beneath Long Island Sound is proving to be a major obstacle for the company hoping to activate the Cross-Sound Cable.
The 330-megawatt power line was laid in May between New Haven and New York’s Long Island. It has not been switched on because regulators found that obstructions were blocking about 500 feet of the 24-mile line from being buried at the required 48 feet beneath the water.
Rita Bowlby, a spokeswoman for the Cross-Sound Cable Co., said officials have identified the harbor obstacles, and have determined most of them will be relatively easy to overcome.
“One’s like a tree stump and the others are almost as simple,” Bowlby said.
The company, a subsidiary of energy giant Hydro-Quebec, plans to hire divers to dig through those obstructions with hand tools.
But on Friday and Saturday, work crews were investigating a large rock zone that may be harder to remove.
“We’re probing the rock and getting samples to see whether we’ve hit a bunch of rocks or a continuous ledge,” Bowlby told the Connecticut Post. “Until we get the constitution of that rock, we won’t know what we have to do.”
State Sen. George “Doc” Gunther, R-Stratford, said the rock ledge is a well-known feature in the sound. He predicted that the only way to remove it is by dynamiting it, raising the possibility of environmental havoc.
The 82-year-old lawmaker, the longest-serving member of the General Assembly, recalled that an oil tanker struck the same ridge and tore open its hull about 30 years ago. The Army Corps subsequently blew up part of the shoal.
“You tell me Cross-Sound didn’t have a record of that?” Gunther told the Post. “Those people ought to be made to go out there, yank up the wire and be forced to put it somewhere else.”
Work to bury the cable to the required depths is scheduled to resume in October. A permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prohibits construction in the summer in order to avoid disturbing fish spawning areas.