by Pam Zubeck
The city has locked a manhole at Platte Avenue and Academy Boulevard used by kids to travel under Academy, which means anyone who finds themselves in the storm sewer system won't be able to exit through the manhole.
The lockdown comes after a Jan. 23 incident in which the Springs Fire Department helped search for three children seen going down the manhole, the city says in a press release.
Fortunately, the children exited safely; however, the scare brought to light a dangerous situation. CSPD personnel registered dangerously low oxygen readings in the storm sewer accessed through the manhole. It is thought many students from schools and neighborhoods in the area have been using that storm sewer to travel under Academy Boulevard to the Citadel Mall area.
Given the low oxygen ratings and the potential for water to be in the storm sewer pipe, this is a dangerous situation. For now, the manhole in question has been fitted with a locking cover, but this does present new challenges as that now blocks an exit for workers — or anyone in the storm sewer pipes, whether they should be there or not.
The city urges parents to talk to their kids about avoiding manholes and engaging in other risky behavior.
A news conference is planned for tomorrow morning to emphasize the issue.