PSEG plan powers forward

Lynbrook, Rockville Centre officials agree on route for Western Nassau Transmission Project after debate

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Village officials from Lynbrook and Rockville Centre have reached an agreement on a route for an upcoming $176 million Public Service Enterprise Group of Long Island project, which is to install a 7.3-mile, 138-kilovolt underground transmission line between Garden City and Lynbrook. 

After officials from each village were at odds over which route they wanted PSEG to take, Lynbrook Village Attorney Tom Atkinson announced at an April 15 meeting that Rockville Centre had agreed to PSEG’s preferred route. The work, which will involve digging trenches to install underground copper cables encased in plastic sheathing, is expected to take place mostly in the Town of Hempstead, but will also run through Lynbrook, Rockville Centre, Malverne and Garden City. PSEG will repair any roads that have to be dug up.

The cable, which will power homes and businesses, will stretch from the East Garden City substation, in Uniondale, to the Valley Stream substation, in Lynbrook. It must be installed by 2020 to meet federal regulations. Lynbrook officials favored PSEG’s preferred route because it would have minimal impact on village roads. Rockville Centre officials backed an alternate route, which would have enhanced the village’s electrical system, but would have impacted more Lynbrook roads.

“Over the course of the last nine, 10 months, it has gotten very little traction,” Atkinson told the board during the meeting, referring to Rockville Centre officials’ request. “RVC has resolved their differences with PSEG.”

Atkinson added that Rockville Centre officials signed an agreement for PSEG to stick to its preferred route, which will begin on Stewart Avenue in Garden City and extend to Whitehall Street in Lynbrook.

The route mostly parallels Hempstead Avenue, while an eastern alternate route would have run mostly along Peninsula Boulevard. A western alternative would have followed the preferred route before turning west on First Street in Garden City.

The agreement came after Lynbrook Trustee Mike Hawxhurst, who has since been appointed deputy mayor, expressed frustration with Rockville Centre officials’ efforts to change the preferred route.

“Rockville Centre is looking to re-route the project to pay for upgrades to their system that they don’t want to pay for,” Hawxhurst said at a July board meeting. “So our board here is fighting that, because it would destroy extra streets in our village that don’t need to be ripped up, but Rockville Centre is looking to cheap out on work they need to do on their own.”

Phil Andreas, the Rockville Centre Electric Department superintendent, recommended using the eastern alternative, because it would have created the possibility of installing a new interconnection substation to help Rockville Centre combat electrical issues.

“When we suggested an alternative route . . . that would permit a less expensive upgrade to enhance the reliability of Rockville Centre,” Andreas said, according to the transcript of a public meeting hosted by the state Department of Public Service last May in Mineola, “we were told, to our great frustration, that the planning process was too far along, even though we’ve repeatedly raised issues to both PSEG and LIPA.”

Lynbrook village officials took issue with the eastern alternative, because the Peninsula Boulevard route would have meant underground work on many roads that the village had paved in recent years, including a large portion of Sherman Street.

PSEG spokesman Jeremy Walsh said that the state Public Service Commission was in charge of finalizing the route. He added that the project would “provide much-needed resilience and redundancy to southwestern Nassau County’s electrical grid,” and noted that the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which develops and enforces grid reliability standards in the U.S. and Canada, required the transmission line to be operational by the end of 2020.

“PSEG Long Island’s application process with the state Public Service Commission is well under way,” Walsh said in a statement. “The PSC has final approval over the project, including the route. We will continue to work closely with all stakeholders.”

Work should begin in the final quarter of 2019, Walsh said, and take a year to 18 months to complete.

Ben Strack contributed to this story.