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What is the steam stack closing lanes in downtown Tulsa?

Posted at 5:43 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 06:43:51-05

TULSA, Okla. — 2 News Oklahoma has learned more about a large pipe coming out of the ground at an intersection in downtown Tulsa. It’s located at the intersection of 4th Street and South Denver Ave. A portion of the intersection has been closed for several months.

2 News Oklahoma learned the steam pipe is managed by Vicinity Energy. Their company provides heating and cooling to several buildings in downtown Tulsa through an underground network of pipes. They service buildings such as the BOK Center, One Place Tower and the jail.

“So normally we don’t take the time to put a stack there and wait. But, in this particular case, our expectation is, we want it to be a little bit warmer before we do it,” manager for Tulsa’s district, Todd Lewis said.

Lewis says the steam stack is a temporary fix. The company believes the steam is the result of a pipe leak or an underground water source impinging on one of their pipes.

“Our pipe is hot, therefore it would cause steam,” Lewis said.

Instead of steam coming up through storm drains, they put in a 10-foot stack allowing space for the steam to escape. In doing so, they closed down the left lane at the intersection. Lewis says the steam itself is not dangerous and no buildings and vicinity services have been impacted.

Vicinity provides heating and cooling by what they call “thermal energy” which they say is a greener alternative. Right now, the company services more than 7.1 million square feet of commercial space in downtown Tulsa.

Lewis says depending on the weather in March, they expect to make repairs and remove the stack in early April.

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