TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A power outage that left businesses in downtown Terre Haute without electricity for several hours was caused by old wires that were burning. Now, there’s a project underway to modernize the system.

The Terre Haute Underground System was built back in the 1950s and is the source of power for many area businesses.

Duke Energy District Manager, Rick Burger, said multi-million dollar project plans are in place to replace those wires and move underground transformers above ground.

“It’ll be easier for our crews to work on if needed,” Burger added.

The plan started a year and a half ago. First, right of way must be established then-new wires will be put in. “We have to make investments to keep the power going,” He added.

Burger said this project has been on Duke Energy’s radar for years before any issues happened.

‘We saw this as a number one issue we saw we had to take care of. I appreciate top management making this a priority even though budgets are tight. We need to make this happen,” Burger said.

The project’s completion date is slated for near 2024.

The Terre Haute Children’s museum had to be closed down due to no electricity Thursday afternoon. But, Executive Director, Susan Turner said day-to-day operations were not severely damaged.

“The city and the utility companies are working hand in hand to make sure our city is moving forward. We’re seeing so much growth, so much progress. The system needs to be addressed, I believe they’re doing their best,” Turner added.

Power was completely restored to the downtown area at around 6:30 a.m.

“Our number one goal every day and every year is to keep reliable power going, especially with our downtown businesses. If they don’t have the power we know they’re losing revenue,” Burger said.

Mywabashvalley.com will continue to follow this story as more updates become available