Skyway reader Andrea Lubov prompted us to move beyond the visual and sniff out the problem behind an olfactory offense:
"This isn't an eyesore, but it sure is a 'nosesore': The odor of sewer gas escaping from the sewer vents at 4th and Nicollet -- next to the bus stop -- and several other places along Nicollet (7th is another bad spot) is pretty overwhelming. Can anything be done??"
Tim O'Donnell of the Metropolitan Council said the regional governmental authority's Environmental Services division "is planning a project that should reduce these odors."
O'Donnell explained that two large sewer pipes which serve northwest Minneapolis and surrounding areas meet near 4th Street and Nicollet Mall are causing the smell.
The Met Council is currently working on a project at Portland and Washington Avenues that will install a carbon filtration unit and underground vaults, O'Donnell said. With luck, this will reduce the amount and intensity of the odors rising from the sewer line.
Said O'Donnell, "We are working with the city of Minneapolis and private property owners on easement, permit and traffic issues, and hope to begin the 18-month construction project in 2004."
See -- or smell -- something broken Downtown? We can help explain what's going on. Send your nominations to email@example.com, or by fax to 825-0929 or by mail to 1115 Hennepin Ave. S., 55403.