Rethinking the Engineering of Manhole Covers

According to Henry Petroski in his Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America, an infrastructure is “the atmosphere of the built world.”

Though vague, it attempts to name so much of what we take for granted every day. Sidewalks, streets, sewer lines, in fact, nearly everything we use when we walk out our front door can be included in the vastly encompassing word “infrastructure.” And while it is a part of our every day lives, we incorrectly assume that these things will take care of themselves. That is, until this infrastructure begins to crumble around us. Or poison us. Or threaten our daily routines.

The Flint, Michigan water crisis is the latest wake up call to the nation’s need for addressing the failing and aging infrastructure that we take for granted until it is broken. Consider these frightening facts:

42% of the major urban highways remain congested even after what seems like constant rebuilding and maintenance.

  • $101 billion is wasted every year in fuel and time on these congested roads.
  • $170 billion is the amount the Federal Highway Administration estimates that America needs to invest in capital improvements on an annual basis to significantly improve the conditions and performance of the country’s streets, highways and interstates.

Only 50% of current roads allow enough traffic to generate revenues that are sufficient enough to cover their maintenance.

What the Reports Say

Every four years, the America Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) provides a thorough assessment of the nation’s major infrastructure categories. As the next report approaches in 2017, government officials and city planners prepare for statistics to back up what they already know — American roads need major improvements and expansions if they are going to have a chance to support the nation.

While many experts fear that building more roads will not meet the needs of future traffic, these same experts speak to the benefits of improving the roads we currently have. These improvements involve everything from better surfaces that will last longer to rethinking major components of city streets like manhole covers. In the process of repair, experts understand the need to upgrade what we have always taken for granted as being good enough. Manhole covers are one example of an upgrade and an improvement that can help every community make progress for the future during their road repairs and construction.

New Composite Manhole Covers Discourage Continued Theft

High quality composite manhole covers are a lightweight — yet strong — alternative to traditional manhole covers. Replacing heavy, difficult to remove, manhole covers with durable covers that last as long as 30 years is a real advantage in many situations. For sewer lines that need to be repaired or checked frequently, these covers provide easier and faster access to the work that needs to be completed. Custom lock and handle mechanisms mean that although they are lighter and easier to remove, they will not be removed by vandals who simply wish to expose motorists and pedestrians to the dangers of open manholes. The fact that these innovative covers have no scrap metal value also helps to eliminate the temptation for theft.

Design is dictated by function, and although the traditional heavy manhole cover was originally created to help avoid theft, the fact remains that vandals still found ways to carry away these heavy disks. The theft of manholes is a serious issue not only in America, but around the world as well. The city of Calcutta, India, for example, reported more than 10,000 manhole covers stolen in two months. In an attempt to remove the temptation of scrap metal resale, the stolen covers were replaced with concrete covers. Unfortunately, these were also stolen because of the value of rebar enclosed in the cement. Composite covers with no resale value can eliminate the temptation of theft.

In addition to being lightweight and less of a temptation to vandals, the non skid surface of these heavy duty manhole covers make them safer than traditional metal manholes in all weather conditions. The fact that metal covers could immediately become a disk of ice would no longer be a problem.

Traditional manhole covers needed to often be repaired or replaced during their 30 year life span. Composite covers offer a more durable alternative to these disks that are used throughout the country.

Frequently asked questions

Is the cover manufactured in the USA?

No. Designed in Texas. Made in China

Does it come with a warranty or any guarantee?

Yes, 5 years. No hassle

Is the cover HS-25 rated?

Yes. Tested and proven

Is the cover kept secure to the frame with a bolt or
locking system?

Yes. 4 X 316 SS Bolts

How does the SuperCoverTM SSO Series reduce sanitary sewer overflows?

It eliminates water going in and stops sewage water from gushing out

Does the unit prevent infiltration & exfiltration?

Yes, by means of gaskets and bolts


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