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Manhole Cover Thefts Leave Treacherous Holes Along Kedzie Avenue

By Darryl Holliday | June 2, 2015 8:02am

LOGAN SQUARE — The row of streets and greenways that connect Chicago’s boulevard system is well-traveled in Logan Square, but residents should watch their step along Kedzie Avenue.

That’s because at least four out of around 16 electrical housing covers are missing on the east side of Kedzie between Palmer Square and the Illinois Centennial Monument — and inside each, a four-foot drop ends in a tangle of electrical wires underground.

Steve Hier has covered this gaping hole with planks but fears a child or pedestrian could fall through several gaps along Kedzie Ave. [DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday]

The roughly 100-pound sewer-sized manhole covers house electrical units along the boulevard just north of Palmer Square Park. They began going missing last summer, according to longtime Palmer Square resident Steve Hier, an engineer by trade.

But, of course, the covers didn't simply disappear — this is likely the work of scrappers, Hier said, estimating that a cast-iron cover of this size would require two people to lift and would earn a few bucks on the scrap materials market.

More importantly, the missing covers create a dangerous situation for pedestrians.

“I'm worried that the city will start caring once a kid falls through," Hier said, pointing to one of the electrical-wire studded holes, which he and other neighbors have covered with various objects, including planks of wood, metal grates and traffic cones as a warning to walkers.

Hier said he reported the missing covers to the city, but for now, the holes remain open. He said he hoped to see them replaced before an accident occurs.

A spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation said the agency was looking into the issue.

A four-foot drop ends in a tangle of electrical wires and trash underground. [DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday]

A proper cover for underground electrical wires. [DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday]

A makeshift cover made of rusted metal grates and a traffic cone by worried neighbors. [DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday]

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