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IPL: ‘100 percent complete’ with new locking manhole covers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Power & Light Company has completed their work on the installation of new locking manhole covers in downtown after an underground explosion on March 19.

IPL said they were 100 percent finished installing the 1,214 manholes on Monday. They say Indianapolis is the only utility in the U.S. to install these types of Swiveloc covers. The covers are designed to pop up only a few inches.

The utility company said that the cause of the explosion was likely caused by an underground electrical cable that may have been damaged by heat from subterranean steam lines.  The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission said that its early investigation suggested that a 2-year-old underground cable had failed and caused the March blast.

“The downtown network is complex and challenging as it houses transformers, cables and control equipment as well as infrastructure for other utilities,” said Joe Bentley, IPL Senior Vice President of Customer Operations.

IPL said the risk of incidents cannot be all together eliminated. However, they are taking steps to reduce the possibility of other incidents from happening again.

At least 13 other underground explosions have occurred in downtown Indianapolis over the last 10 years. Just three days before the downtown explosions crews responded the 400 block of Massachusetts Avenue for a reported underground explosion. An IPL spokesperson said in that incident a 13,000 volt termination chamber actually failed,making the two incidents very different.

For more information on the downtown network and to see a map of where the locking manhole covers have been installed, click here.