NEW YORK—Sixth Avenue was entirely blocked off midday Wednesday between 26th and 27th as the Fire Department cleared the area for ConEdison to resolve an incident of stray voltage. Around 2pm two lanes were reopened for traffic down the busy avenue.
ConEdison found stray voltage on 26th Street at 4am Wednesday. Stray voltage results when an exposed electrical wire touches a metal object, creating an unintended and potentially dangerous electrical field. ConEdison routinely searches the city for such voltage.
A morning rainshower caused the stray voltage on 26th street to spread to Sixth Avenue. At 11:36 the Fire Department received a call about the stray voltage and blocked off the road for ConEdison to address the problem. ConEdison shut down power to the entire block. Workers required a flush truck to clear leaves, water, and debris out of a manhole at the NE corner of 26th and Sixth Avenue before the wiring problem could be sorted out.
ConEdison found the problem in the service line in the street. No one was hurt. Power has been restored.
Salt spread on streets to melt snow and ice often washes into ConEdison’s underground wiring when the snow melts. The salt corrodes wires. When exposed wires touch metal objects they transfer a charge, causing stray voltage.