IPL brings in outside help for increased manhole inspections

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IPL crews usually inspect some manholes before big events downtown.

But after the two recent explosions, the public concern has increased so much that every manhole downtown will be inspected before the Final Four weekend.

And for that, the company needed some backup.

Some visitors to Indianapolis aren’t here for the basketball.

Dozens of workers have been called in from Chicago, Dayton and Cincinnati to inspect manholes downtown.

“They’re taking a look at the physical and structural conditions, taking a look at all the equipment,” IPL Director of External Communication Brandi Davis-Handy said.

The utility company originally planned to inspect about 300 manholes before the Final Four weekend, but now crews are inspecting all 1,260 located downtown.

“It’s a tight timeline. We’ve got two weeks to do it, but we’ve got 50 additional people and so you’ll see crews really throughout this week and probably into next week around the downtown area,” she said.

The crews have a three page checklist to make sure there aren’t major issues that could cause more explosions.

“What is the condition right now of the cables, they’re taking various meter readings, they’re giving us that information and we’re logging that into our database,” she said.

They’re providing relief for IPL crews still fixing damage caused by the explosion at Capital Avenue and North Street.

“In terms of our manhole inspections, this gives our crews the ability to keep their efforts focused on not just restoration but then the repairs,” she said.

Should the out-of-town inspectors find major issues with the equipment, she said IPL will make repairs.

She said the company is trying to be proactive, especially with the Final Four on the horizon.

“We want to make sure that not only those who live and work in the downtown area feel comfortable coming downtown, but also all the visitors,” she said.

Crews arrived Monday morning.

As for the cost of the additional crews, IPL does not have an estimate.

The company will have to wait to see how many hours the crews work while they are here.

Davis-Handy said the money will come from the regular maintenance budget for the downtown district.