Albany manhole cover problems continue - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Albany manhole cover problems continue


ALBANY, N.Y. -- Two manholes became dislodged on State Street in Albany by a faulty underground cable early Monday morning in front of Jack's Oyster House and Cook's Deli.

The incident is one of several incidents in the last few months, once again stirring up the conversation about public safety.

National Grid crews spent the entire day in downtown Albany, working to repair the problem.

In March, manholes blew off right in front of the Old English Pub on Broadway, damaging part of the building.

"We're certainly concerned," says Patrick Stella, the spokesperson for National Grid.  "It's got our attention.  It's got our attention beyond the management of Albany, all the way up the corporate chain."

Stella says extra inspections began about a month ago in the downtown area as a result and regular inspections as required by the state are up to date.

But Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings is asking for more.

"This is about public safety," says Jennings.  "As far as I'm concerned a company that large, shouldn't back off of making sure the streets in this city or any other city are safe and secure."

"We share the mayor's concern," says Stella.  "This is safety for our customers as well as his constituents in the city, and that's why we're doing what we're doing and stepping up these inspections."

"As a pedestrian, we watch for bikes and cars and people with motorcycles, but the last thing you think of is something popping up from the ground," adds Albany resident Deborah Johnson.

"It's not something you think about, to look down," says another resident.

Mayor Jennings says you shouldn't have to; public safety should be a guarantee.

"We have a lot of street festivals, a lot of activities going on and I want to make sure when people walk on these streets they don't have to be concerned about a 300 pound manhole cover blowing off and hitting them," says Jennings.

"Any system like this across the globe, has these issues from time to time, but the amount of incidents we've seen in the downtown Albany area in the last six months, is certainly concern for us," says Stella.

National Grid will be piloting new manhole covers in the Albany area which will be better vented with more slots, to allow more gases to escape.

Stella says the company has ordered about 100 of them to test in an effort to prevent further incidents.


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