New manhole covers prove safe after water main break

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INDIANAPOLIS (August 30, 2015) - New manhole covers stand up to the test Sunday morning after a water main break sends steam pouring from the street.

The break happened around 11 a.m. Sunday when Indianapolis Fire crews responded to what was called a manhole explosion on West Ohio between Illinois and Meridian.

Utility crews at the scene assessed the situation and discovered an explosion had not occurred and newly installed locking manhole covers kept the steam from sending the manhole covers into the air.

The block was cordoned off, water was turned off and crews went to work to repair the main. Hundreds of drivers and hotel guests were affected. The Sheraton hotel was without water service and the break also affected the building’s air conditioning for more than 5 hours.

More than 900 of these special manhole covers are in place downtown after a series of explosions in March had covers shooting out of the street causing a very dangerous situation.

“It was doing its job. It was rising and falling above the manhole cover. It actually fell back down where it was supposed to. It worked perfectly,” said Indianapolis Fire Department spokesman Brad Morris.

Water was restored to the area shortly after 8 p.m. and both directions of traffic reopened shortly before 11 p.m. No injuries were reported – something everyone involved was glad to see.

“We want to make sure that the people who live downtown, work downtown or just come downtown to visit feel confident and comfortable that it safe to walk the streets of downtown Indianapolis,” said IPL Spokeswoman, Brandi Davis-Handy.

The water main that runs below Ohio Street was installed in 1904. Three-hundred more safety manhole covers are expected to be installed by the end of the year.

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