BROOKLYN - A manhole explosion has shut down Willoughby Street, causing even more traffic problems in downtown Brooklyn.

Police directed traffic away from the area this afternoon after a series of manhole fires.

Con Edison says the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was working on a public improvement project in the area, and the energy company was moving its equipment and cables to accommodate the MTA. Con Ed says it believes the movement caused the cables to burn out.

The closure left businesses without customers for hours and prevented commuters from taking their regular routes.