INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 13, 2014) – A worker was killed at the Deep Rock Tunnel Connector Project on the city’s south side Friday morning.
Police were called to the 6600 block of South Tibbs Avenue around 3:15 a.m. with reports of an injured person. That person, a contractor for Citizens Energy, later died. Citizens Energy identified him as 25-year-old William Isaac Simpson. Simpson, who went by Isaac, worked for contractor Shea-Kiewit for more than a year. He’d been on the job since 11 p.m.
“(We’re all) very shaken by this loss,” Citizens Energy spokesperson Sarah Holsapple said.
Holsapple said as many as 10 people work in the tunnel at a time, but no other workers were injured during Friday’s incident. Simpson was working 250 feet below the ground and in the tunnel system near West and Raymond streets.
At this point in time, Citizens Energy said it cannot speculate about the cause but confirmed it was not caused by a structural compromise or collapse.
“We’re calling it an incident, we’re not calling it an accident, and I can’t describe anything that happened underground because that’s part of the investigation,” Holsapple said.
The utility contacted the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA), and the work site is currently shut down pending an investigation. That investigation will take two to three months, but the site will likely open back up next week, according to a spokesperson.
“IOSHA has assigned its most experienced construction Compliance Safety and Health Officer to investigate this accident,” the agency said in a statement. “Until the investigation is complete, we do not release any further information to maintain the integrity of the investigation. IOSHA investigations last 2-3 months and are comprehensive.”
The Deep Rock Tunnel Connector Project is a massive tunnel that’s going to act as a temporary storage area for billions of gallons of raw sewage. Right now, the sewage flows into waterways in Indianapolis.
The eight-mile tunnel system will store 250 million gallons of raw sewage when it is finished, scheduled to occur in 2016.
The entire project will take more than 10 years to complete and will cost an estimated $1.4 billion.