Estimated restoration times for Sanibel Island – some essential services restored by Thursday | News, Sports, Jobs
Although initial assessments of Sanibel and Captiva Islands indicated that rebuilding electrical infrastructure could take months, major connections are expected to be restored this week.
“Thanks to many forces working together, the backbone of the system will be rebuilt, allowing power to be restored to essential services such as the school, the RO plant and a fire station which are expected to be back in place. power as early as…October 20,” a release of the LCEC states. “Once the critical infrastructure has been rebuilt, the LCEC and FPL team plan to work section by section to revitalize the island over the next two weeks. By October 23, City Hall and public safety facilities should be in operation. Each rebuilt or repaired section connects additional residential and commercial customers, the majority of which are estimated to be restored within 13 days. The most affected sections of the island, such as North Captiva, will take time to rebuild.
What helped to accelerate the restoration of a devastated barrier island:
• Help from Governor Ron DeSantis and other government agencies helped overcome challenges with access, line worker support and other resources.
• 500 workers from the FPL line were mobilized on the island last week as part of the extended partnership with FPL, the LCEC’s electricity supplier. Support also included a generous supply of utility poles and materials, six substation electricians and many other logistics personnel working hand in hand with LCEC employees.
• LCEC’s critical infrastructure remained strong during and after the storm. After proper assessment, cleaning, analysis and testing, the transmission line and substation were energized, resulting in the backbone of the system being repaired. This will allow homes and businesses to start receiving electricity.
Challenges in restoring power to a barrier island:
• The island has been cut off from vehicular traffic, making it difficult to access mobile trucks, materials, supplies, accommodations and utility workers. A one-day temporary bridge allowed a large number of vehicles to move and additional trips must be made by barge and ferry.
• Much of the island was destroyed, including critical electrical infrastructure. Some facilities survived the storm, which accelerated the restoration of these areas.
• Traffic on the island on a normal day can be slow. After a hurricane, it’s even more problematic.
• Vegetation and debris cover almost every surface, including where crews need to be to complete the job.
• Water, sand and salt intrusion complicate the reconstruction of facilities, especially in areas where utilities are underground.