Placement of New Cables Under Freeport Channel Will Protect Emergency Facilities Against Power Loss During Storms, Move Recovery and Resiliency Process Forward
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of the Freeport Channel Crossing Electrical Improvements Project, a more than $7 million effort to transform aging infrastructure in the Village of Freeport. The project, which was carried out by the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery in partnership with the Village of Freeport, installed new submarine cables underneath Freeport Channel that can better distribute power to emergency facilities during weather-related power outages. The project is part of the Village's efforts to improve the resiliency of its infrastructure following Superstorm Sandy, which caused widespread power outages to approximately 3,700 customers— including firehouses and other critical buildings— restricting the community's ability to initiate immediate recovery operations.
"As extreme weather becomes the new normal, it is critical that New York's communities are building resilient infrastructure that promotes public safety and ensures no disruptions to essential government and emergency services during these events," Governor Cuomo said. "The completion of this project will help to minimize outages for New Yorkers who live and work in the area, create a safer environment for first responders and utility personnel, and make Freeport stronger and more resilient than ever."
"In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, New York has led the way to invest in critical infrastructure and ensure resiliency is built into new projects," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We know major storms are becoming more commonplace across the state and the country, and we must be prepared. With these upgrades in the Village of Freeport, we are building back smarter to protect against outages and ensure the safety of all New Yorkers."
Through the Freeport Channel Crossing Electrical Improvements Project, new cables, electrical poles and cross-arms—all built to withstand major weather-related events—were installed to enhance energy security for the primary economic district, the Nautical Mile, and to safeguard major assets such as schools, firehouses, pump stations and flood sirens. The strategic decision to move the electrical lines underground will ultimately protect Freeport's electrical grid, while reducing the risk of electrical fires and human injury.
Emily Thompson, Acting General Counsel and Chief External Affairs Officer for the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery said, "Widespread power outages only exasperate the effects felt by communities in the days during and after significant weather events. Through the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program, Governor Cuomo has provided storm-impacted municipalities such as the Village of Freeport with the method and the means to address short-term and long-term needs. Coupled with other recovery and resiliency projects being implemented on Long Island, the Freeport Channel Crossing Electrical Improvements Project will help to better prepare the region for increasingly frequent storms."
Senator John Brooks said, "In a time when weather-related emergencies are only increasing, it is imperative that our state and local leaders take the necessary steps to protect important community assets. The electrical grid in Freeport proved to be vulnerable to severe weather incidents after Superstorm Sandy hit, causing downed power lines, residential blackouts, and loss of essential power to emergency service infrastructure. The completion of this project can and will save lives and money when the next major storm or other disaster hits Long Island. I commend the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery on taking essential steps to protect our communities from future disasters by learning from our past vulnerabilities."
Assembly Member Judy Griffin, Member of the New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee said, "The completion of the Freeport Channel Crossing Electrical Improvements Project greatly improves the village's defense against weather-related power outages like we experienced during Superstorm Sandy. This is a big step forward in improving the energy security of this district, especially in the beloved Nautical Mile area of Freeport and I thank Governor Cuomo for securing this important funding."
Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy said, "The residents and businesses greatly appreciate Governor Cuomo's concerns regarding the resiliency of Nassau County and Freeport post Super Storm Sandy."
Across Nassau County, one of the state's most densely populated areas outside of New York City, large swaths of land were flooded, homes were damaged or destroyed, heavy debris littered yards and blocked roadways, and compromised power lines impeded travel and interrupted power. In Freeport Channel, vessels were lifted from their dry docks as boats and other debris struck the tie lines and conduits. This infrastructure, dating back to 1967, supplied power to one-quarter of Freeport. Freeport Electric is the largest municipal-owned utility on Long Island, serving more than 43,000 customers.
Governor Cuomo established the NY Rising Community Reconstruction (NYRCR) Program in 2013 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee to empower residents in the recovery and resiliency process, and to speak to the specific needs and assets of their communities. The Freeport Channel Crossing Electrical Improvements Project is among the hundreds of locally devised proposals moving forward through the NYRCR Program statewide, also including the $300,000 development of a new Outage Management System for the Village of Freeport— unveiled in the fall of 2018.
Established in June 2013, the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) coordinates statewide recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Through its NY Rising Housing Recovery, Small Business, Community Reconstruction, Infrastructure and Rebuild by Design programs, GOSR invests $4.5 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding to better prepare New York for extreme weather events. More information about GOSR and its programs is available online at http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/.