Orange & Rockland (O&R) plans to begin work Monday (Aug, 17) on a $2.5 million storm-hardening project designed to improve service resiliency and minimize storm-related service interruptions by burying the overhead electric lines that run along the causeway that crosses Lake DeForest between Congers and New City in Clarkstown.

This project calls for undergrounding existing overhead lines only. The utility poles, which are owned by Verizon, will remain as will the town-owned street lights attached to them.

Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann said, “The Town of Clarkstown has long desired for the wires along the causeway to be buried underground making requests to O&R in 2016, 2018, and 2020. We are delighted that O&R sees the wisdom in this as well, and we are glad to work together to harden the system. In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias in which ten poles fell across the causeway, clearly this project will be a great benefit to the Town.”

The project is part of O&R’s storm hardening program that includes the strategic undergrounding of critical and outage prone overhead circuits throughout the O&R electric system, making it more reliable.

O&R Vice President – Operations Francis W. Peverly said, “Undergrounding overhead electric lines at critical locations has proven to be a valuable tool in reducing storm-related power outages. Used strategically, it provides high-value results for our customers and the communities we serve in terms of reducing storm damage and preserving electric reliability.”

Clarkstown Councilman Mike Graziano said, “As Councilman of Ward 2, which includes the causeway, and as a lifelong Congers resident, I am grateful that O&R has taken this step to improve the grid as well as improve the appearance of the surrounding area by burying the lines.”

O&R has secured all required public approvals and permits for this project.

The contractor crews will be performing the work generally between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Traffic control will be fully deployed for workplace safety as necessary. Motorists should exercise extra caution while driving through the work area. Expect periodic traffic delays and occasional detours as the work progresses.

“We are encouraging the other utilities, Verizon and Altice, to join O&R in these efforts on the causeway so we can eventually have all the wires underground,” Supervisor George Hoehmann added.

Councilman Frank Borelli said, “I am happy that O&R is moving forward with this project and is addressing the Town’s concerns that we have presented to them for several years. This upgrade will improve the connection between Congers and New City and will reduce power outages in the future.”

Councilman Don Franchino said, “I am in full support of this initiative for the overall improvements to our infrastructure, which will be a long term benefit to the entire Town. ”

Councilman Pat Carroll said, “Having witnessed several storms and the resulting damage over the past few years as a Councilmember and town resident, it is clear that this project is a much needed improvement to the Town’s grid. I welcome O&R’s cooperation and am thankful for their assistance.”

County Legislator Laurie Santulli whose district includes Congers said, “I am pleased to hear this project is going forward. Thank you to Orange and Rockland Utilities and the Town of Clarkstown for working together to make the causeway safer and for outages to be less likely in Congers.”

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