News Briefs: Flying Manhole Cover Kills Driver

In this week’s news briefs, a tragedy in Boston prompts immediate action by the state DOT, federal officials react to record rainfall in southern Florida, and Michigan municipalities report a mild winter.
News Briefs: Flying Manhole Cover Kills Driver

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Caitlin Clavette was killed when a 200-pound manhole cover went airborne and struck her vehicle as the 35-year-old elementary school teacher was driving to work Feb. 12 on Interstate 93 in Boston.

The manhole cover sat atop a storm drainage system and was last inspected June 12, 2014, reports the Boston Herald. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation conducts tunnel inspections of overhead hardware, such as lighting fixtures and exhaust fans, every six months and inspection of hardware on the road every two years.

State officials immediately ordered the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to inspect a 3-mile stretch of Interstate 93 following last week’s incident. Crews inspected 919 manhole covers, sewage grates and electrical panel covers. They performed cautionary maintenance on 65 of them, the Associated Press reports.

While authorities continue to investigate what caused the manhole cover to come loose, officials say the inspection found nothing to indicate a threat to public safety.

Source: Boston Herald, Associated Press

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Diverts Everglades Water
Federal officials agreed to start draining about 10,000 gallons of water per second out of flooded Everglades water conservation areas in southern Florida, according to the Sun Sentinel.

“This action will help prevent a die-off of wildlife whose habitat is currently flooded and eventually relieve pressure from discharges to the estuaries,” says Gov. Rick Scott in the report.

Record levels of rainfall have caused the conservation area to be about a foot higher than it should be, says Randy Smith, a spokesman for the South Florida Water Management District. The newspaper reports that rain has overwhelmed the drainage system over the past century and water levees in the Everglades have risen to dangerous levels.

Source: Sun Sentinel

Michigan Municipalities Thankful for Mild Winter
After experiencing one of the coldest winters in years one year ago, Muskegon County officials say frozen water service lines have not been an issue this year.

“We have not had extremely cold temperature for prolonged periods,” Norton Shores Public Works Director Jerry Bartoszek told WZZM 13. The city also buried some problem lines deeper underground this summer to help prevent those lines from freezing again.

In the northern part of the county, Montague’s Department of Public Works put markers above buried water meters this winter. According to the report, the markers included a notice for homeowners not to remove snow above the meter. The city says there have been no frozen lines in the city of Montague this winter as of Feb. 12.

Source: WZZM 13


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