City Finds New Way to Repair Manholes

Sept. 14, 2012

Lexington, Ky., is the second largest city in Kentucky. It is rich in culture and has a thriving business community. With all of the activities in the area and the resultant traffic, the city realized a need to make the streets as safe and smooth as possible.

A few years ago, the sewer and street departments began to search for a better way to maintain the sewer manholes. Manhole lid installations either deteriorate over time or go out of level due to street repavement. The conventional repair methods involving air hammers and saws were too labor intensive and cost prohibitive.       

The search for a new repair method led the city to the Mr. Manhole system, which uses a powered cutter that operates on a backhoe or skid-steer loader. The cutter places a round cut outside the manhole perimeter and removes the manhole frame from the road with little manual labor. The system provides a quick and accurate way to rebuild the manhole frame and lid to the exact height and slope of the road. An added benefit of the system is its ability to stop groundwater penetration into the manhole chimney section. Through a small increase in the sewer and water bill, the city was able to fund the repairs.

The Lexington maintenance department purchased the first system in 2008. The crews were trained and immediately set to work repairing the city’s manholes. The work went well and the response from the public was positive, so in 2011, the city purchased a second Mr. Manhole tool system.

Jimmy Webb, superintendent of streets and roads for Lexington, estimates that 1,800 repairs have been completed to date. All tools and materials come from a single source, and training is only a phone call away. The repairs are easy to do, and safer for the workers and more durable than conventional repair methods.

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