As a driver, you’re used to navigating the hazards that come along with the season, particularly in spring, fall and winter. But what about “manhole season?” If you haven’t heard of this particular New York City phenomenon, keep reading.
Although this problem isn’t much discussed in official circles, investigative reporters used the Freedom of Information Act to dislodge records held by the city’s fire department and learned that there were almost 4,000 dispatches between 2009 and 2018 due to manhole explosions. At least 57 people suffered injuries during that period and an additional nine were injured in 2019. January and February of each year are particularly heavy months for manhole cover explosions.
What’s behind the explosions? It’s mostly problems related to an aging and badly maintained infrastructure, including old wiring and lots of salt spread out on the road. Con Edison blames the problem on road salt, saying that it erodes the underground cables and starts a chain reaction that leads to the explosions. Experts say that it’s poor maintenance on the part of Con Ed and the city streets. So far, however, attempts to get the Public Service Commission to better oversee what’s going on with Con Ed have fallen short.
Manhole covers weighing 70 pounds or more can be thrust into the air with incredible force. Con Ed has already faced multiple lawsuits over the issue and allegedly aims to keep such cases mired in red tape as long as possible.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to a manhole cover explosion, it’s your right to seek compensation for your losses. Find out how an experienced attorney can help.