INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A massive manhole collapse downtown is causing a huge headache for drivers. On Friday, Citizens Energy announced the intersection will be partially opened by Monday, with some lane restrictions. Officials didn’t speculate on when the intersection will be fully reopened.
The manhole collapse was discovered at Illinois and Maryland on Thursday during a routine sewage inspection. Citizens Energy Manager of Corporate Communications, Dan Considine, said this particular area of the collapse is very complex and not an easy fix.
“We are now excavating the site. That’s going to be a fairly long process because we have multiple other utility lines under the sewer. We have electric, gas, steam, chilled water, multiple telecommunication lines under the street,” Considine explained.
Earlier this month, more issues for downtown roads. A massive sinkhole opened up at Ohio and Pennsylvania. The continuing issues due to aging infrastructure have some city and state leaders calling for an audit.
“Right now, our streets aren’t safe, and we need a complete comprehensive audit of what is going on with our streets and our infrastructure,” said Jim Merritt (R) Indianapolis.
The problems are coming at an inconvenient time. With interstate closures, many are using city routes as detours. Streets are already clogged and the heavy traffic isn’t making the concerns any better.
“It’s unfortunate that they’re coming at a time when the state is also trying to work on re-doing the interstates, so we have a large part of the loop that’s closed off so that’s pushing a lot of traffic onto our local streets,” said Indianapolis City Councilman, Zach Adamson.
The continued problems are falling into the hands of Citizens Energy. Considine said they’ve been working on inspections and sewer replacements since 2011. He said the problem isn’t the money, it’s the time needed for such a massive project.
“Each year, we inspect about 300 miles of our sewer system to identify problems before they occur and we found this problem yesterday and immediately closed down the intersection,” Considine said. “Since 2011, we’ve invested about $1.2 billion in the sewer system on a variety of things.”
About once each week, Considine said crews inspect the city’s sewer systems, which is how Thursdays manhole collapse was discovered.
While Citizens said money isn’t the problem, many city leaders said the extra funds would help with other aspects of the city’s aging infrastructure.
“We’ve got to figure out a long-term sustainable funding mechanism for infrastructure for the city,” Adamson said.
There’s a strong push among many for the state to front the extra cash.
“The dollars are there. We have $1.8 billion dollar surplus plus,” said Rep. Gregory Porter (D). “The administrative government can move things around and they have done that in the past.”