Track services

Construction of underground power line on track for year-end completion | Rowboat key

The Longboat Key underground cable project continues to progress on schedule, with the city portion of the project expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The city’s public works department sent its most recent update to the city commission on July 22.

“We’re approaching that early fall period when most of the physical construction will be done,” Public Works Director Isaac Brownman said. “Then it will be in a period where we work with (Florida Power & Light) to finalize everything to a point where we can turn on the newly installed underground electrical system.”

The project, which was launched in the summer of 2019 at the southern end of the island, was divided into four phases, with phase one taking place in the southern part of the island, phase two at the southern end north and phases three and four in the middle.

Originally envisioned in five phases and due for completion in 2024, the $49.1 million project is now expected to be completed a year early. The work has always been carried out without the need for contingency funds built into the annually assessed taxes on townhouses and businesses.

All major drilling of the primary and feeder circuits has been completed. In phase four, crews complete final splicing of primary and secondary conduits along Gulf of Mexico Drive and neighborhoods. According to the schedule, all electrical conduit work for phase four is to be completed by the end of September.

Crews install cables in phases three and four after splicing the conduits. Phase three is expected to be completed by the end of August. The fourth phase is expected to be completed in October.

The setting of pads and equipment is completed in phase two. Phase three is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of August. Phase four will follow phase three and is expected to be completed in October.

FPL has been informed that the city expects to submit switch orders for customers by the end of August, setting the stage for the work to be done by the utility to literally transition from overhead to underground service. Once these changes are made, teams can begin removing poles and overhead wires, as was done on the southern end of the island.

“Any work the city can do up to this point (switch orders) should be done by December and can be done sooner,” said James Linkogle, the project manager.

All services to be converted from overhead to underground were drilled in phases two and three. The majority of phase four is complete and the remaining services are expected to be completed by the end of September.

All streetlights in the neighborhood will be installed by the end of August. All poles on Gulf of Mexico Drive will be installed by late August or early September. However, 15 poles were delayed due to shipping issues. Once the remaining poles arrive, it will take another two weeks to install them.

For the city fiber portion of the project, all drilling and splice box facilities have been completed. The city is awaiting cost proposals for connectivity to critical city buildings.

The city has fulfilled its responsibilities for the Comcast and Frontier Communications portions of the project. The final steps, including splicing the orange conduits protruding from the ground along Gulf of Mexico Drive, are the responsibility of both companies.

In phases two and three of the easements, the consent of the affected owners was obtained. Majority of transformer pads have been tuned.

In phase four, four owner consents are still required. The transformer pad setting is in progress. Due to the Phase Four schedule, there is currently no anticipated impact to FPL switch orders.

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