Technology marches on. New methods and tools crop up all the time. Occasionally something comes along that makes life easier, is safer, or is more affordable, and we embrace it wholeheartedly.
That time has come for manholes.
It used to be that manholes were rarely repaired and often not flush with the road. It turns out there is a reason they aren’t repaired in a timely fashion. Traditional manhole lid and frame repair is expensive, dangerous for workers, and time-consuming; we just don’t have time to repair them.
Old technology required that the frame and lid has to be removed from the road. There is a lot more to a manhole frame and lid than meets the eye. The frame itself is approximately eight inches tall with a lot of mass buried beneath the asphalt or concrete road surface. The frame weighs in at more than one hundred pounds, and the lid is close to the same weight. That’s some serious iron, and it’s no wonder workers get hurt trying to lift them. To extract this monster from the road, crews typically use a large concrete saw to cut a square around the frame and then use an air hammer to pound away until they expose the frame for removal.
This process can take the better part of a day to complete. After the frame is removed, the manhole has to be modified to enable the frame to be reinstalled at the proper height and slope to match the surrounding road surface. For this task of making things level workers use precast concrete rings, bricks and mortar, or other methods and materials that may or may not be entirely appropriate.
Until recently there has not been a consistent method to repair manholes. Workers have an attitude of, “Whatever works, let’s git ‘er done.” You might say, well, let’s keep it simple. After all, aren’t the old ways more economical? You would be wrong.
There is new technology available, well, maybe not “new.” More than a decade old with widespread use and an excellent track record, the Mr. Manhole repair system saves time and money. It yields a better result and promotes worker safety. How exactly does it work?
The Mr. Manhole system quickly cuts and removes the manhole frame from the road without manual labor. The system allows a quick, high quality, and accurate replacement of the frame and lid. The entire process can be completed in an hour or less.
Remember how the old method created a square cut around the round manhole structure? This is the wrong approach. Square repairs cover a 20 percent bigger area, creating more debris and meaning more material is needed to fill them back in. More material and time translates into higher costs. We won’t go into the structural and practical issues that square repairs cause right now.
The major savings that the new repair method yields is in the form of labor savings. Where crews were getting one to two repairs completed in a day, the same crew can now complete ten or more repairs daily.
Let’s look at the cost of the old method:
The savings are substantial using the new method, and that’s not the end of the good news! Worker safety is significantly improved using this new method. The repair will not leak, which saves on sewage treatment cost. The repair is much smoother to drive over and will last significantly longer than the old method. The repair is engineered to be consistent and repeatable. Many more repairs can be accomplished with the resources we have.
When you are choosing a method to adjust your manhole frames and lids, be sure to examine these new technologies. You will improve your bottom line as well as add value to your infrastructure assets.