Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions about the project, contact us directly by visiting the Contact page.
The project consists of taking all overhead utility lines including FPL, Comcast ad Frontier lines along Gulf of Mexico Drive (GMD) and in the surrounding neighborhoods and placing them underground. Referred to as The Gulf of Mexico Drive (GMD) Project, it is actually two projects, the GMD Project which is the utilities along GMD, and the Neighborhood Project which is the utilities that feed the neighborhoods, known as the Neighborhood Project. Construction of both projects are referred to as the GMD Project and are occurring simultaneously, however, they are being accounted for separately to meet financing requirements. The town is also working towards having the contractor install a Town-wide fiber optic network and smart pole street lighting. These utility upgrades and enhanced technology are consistent with the referendum and will take place along the entire length of the barrier island.
In November of 2015, the Town of Long Key conducted two referenda that received voter approved to borrow $25,250,000 to pay for the undergrounding of utilities along Gulf of Mexico Drive, known as the GMD Project, and the neighborhoods streets, known as the Neighborhood Project. Construction of both projects will occur simultaneously and are referred to as the GMD Project but must be accounted for separately to meet financing requirements.
Construction will kick off in the Summer of 2019 and is expected to take three years to complete. Construction will begin on the north and south ends of the town and progress towards the middle of the town. The project is broken down into four phases. Learn more by visiting the Project Updates page.
The project will be completed in phases to allow for quicker underground installation and overhead line removal within a designated area. The utility companies (FPL, Comcast, Frontier) will not remove the overhead lines and poles until the underground work is complete. Learn more by visiting the Project Update page.
Yes, the undergrounding is currently planned to take place all the way to your house. If your existing service line to your house is overhead or is not a reusable underground service, it will be replaced as part of these two projects.
No. Many years ago FPL moved to installing cables inside conduits. The shift from direct-buried-cable systems to cable-in-conduit systems drastically reduced the outages caused by hard objects piercing the cable insulation. The typical installation method used today to install the conduits is directional boring (also called horizontal drilling). Two small pits are dug about 400 feet apart typically, and a steel rod is pushed into the ground from one pit to the next. The rod is guided by a plate on the end that can be rotated to turn the rod up, down, or sideways as needed. An electronic tracking device tells the operator exactly where the end of the rod is at any time. Upon the steel rod arriving at the pit 400 feet away, conduits are attached to the steel rod and pulled back to the first pit. These are typically dug by hand to minimize disturbing the property and/or owner’s landscaping.
Typically, the underground facilities are fully installed and operational before the connection to your home or business is made. Connecting to the main line usually takes less than four hours and is coordinated with each property owner in advance.
FPL standards for underground areas require that all underground high voltage cables have a backup source so that service can be restored quickly if a cable fails. This requires us to extend the underground cable to a backup source thereby enabling the restoration of power to all transformers without having to replace the failed cable.
You would not be considered to have an overhead service, but you would be classified as an overhead property. Your property would benefit relative to aesthetics and safety. However, since you have no service connections, you would not receive a specific property benefit for reliability improvements. Specific property safety and aesthetics benefits relate to the property’s proximity to overhead lines. Specific property reliability benefits relate to the replacement of service connections.
Yes, this is one of four main FPL feeder routes and the only main feeder that is overhead before reaching the GMD trunk lines.
Yes. the cables are approved for those wet locations and frequently installed below the water table. Water can improve the dissipation of heat and improve the cable’s performance. The connections made in the splice boxes are also rated for underwater use.
The new aboveground switches being installed by FPL are not only sealed but will also continue to operate if submerged underwater. In addition, they have stainless steel cabinets that resist corrosion and will provide many years of reliable service. The ground mounted transformers also have stainless steel cabinets. These cabinets have sealed connections for the high voltage cables, and water-resistant connections for the low voltage connections. Water levels typically need to be very high to cover the low voltage connections and cause the fuse in the transformer to blow. Once the water recedes, these fuses can easily be replaced. However, the incidence of these fuses blowing is rare.
The town of Jupiter Island on the east coast of Florida reported that they had experienced no interruptions on the island since the underground conversion was completed December of 2009. They have power monitors located around the island due to pre-conversion outages and they closely monitor the new system. The Mayor of Jupiter Inlet Colony stated in a meeting with the Palm Beach Undergrounding Taskforce on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, that since the completion of their conversion in 2010, they have experienced one interruption that lasted less than a minute. Trees, animals, and salt contamination were the primary causes of outages and all have been eliminated with the undergrounding project.
This backbone system offers many opportunities for improved communications for the community. Experts confirm that installing these fiber optic backbone facilities in conjunction with the undergrounding project will decrease the cost by approximately 80% of the typical fiber installation cost when performed as a standalone project. The installation of the fiber would open the town to a variety of opportunities ranging from improved governmental/emergency communications to improved cellular reception to community Wi-Fi. Go to the Enhanced Technology page to learn more about the utility upgrades planned for Longboat Key.
By installing turtle friendly light fixtures. Those fixtures control the emission of light so that it is directed to the area on the ground where the illumination is needed but the light source cannot be seen when viewed from a distance. Typically, the light source is recessed into the fixture in a way to provide effective illumination of the target area without allowing light to spill over outside the target area. These designs provide superior light distribution and turtle protection in comparison to the aftermarket shields currently in place on our existing streetlights.
Project completed is currently schedule for late 2022.
The total cost of this project is approximately $49.1 million.