Levin’s Meeting on Underground Blasts Yields Disturbing Information

Ben Bankson, President of the Willowtown Association, gives the following report on last evening’s meeting about the January 18 explosions that shook the area around Joralemon Street and Willow Place:

A full contingent of personnel from National Grid, Con Edison, the MTA and the Department of Transportation was present. Councilman Steve Levin presided. The discussion revealed that the MTA is not part of the notification loop whenever an excavation is done in a street, and this is why National Grid’s subcontractor installing a gas service line on January 18 at 25 Willow Place did not fully “read the street,” to quote the National Grid man who did a lot of the talking. He otherwise said that “the subcontractor followed all of the correct procedures, but we’re not fully done in looking at the incident.” From what was said by the main MTA representative, its 16 cables under Willow Place between the substation and the subway were extensively damaged. The substation has not been up and running since the 18th. Power for the subway is coming from elsewhere. Steve Levin’s office is to handle follow-up monitoring and intends to convene another meeting in the spring to find out if the situation has been remedied and especially if the MTA is brought into the notification loop. The DOT representative assured the neighbors that all of the Joralemon Street cobblestones removed because of this incident will be fully restored. One attendee sent me a message earlier today saying he felt the meeting was “very productive and showed a great deal of interest in the community.” Another attendee at the meeting was on the pessimistic side in saying, “I guess we’re relying on luck that this won’t happen again.”

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