New Philadelphia, Ohio makes adjustable risers standard

April 09, 2020
New Philadelphia, Ohio makes adjustable risers standard

New Philadelphia, Ohio—population 17,000—is the county seat of Tuscarawas County and the very picture of small-town Midwest America. It is historical, too; New Philadelphia began as a Moravian Church mission to the Delaware Indians in 1772, was laid out in 1804 in the grid style pioneered in Philadelphia (hence the name), and incorporated in 1833. Keeping this old and picturesque town in tip-top shape is partly the responsibility of Wastewater Superintendent Brian Myers, who has been in the position for four years and on city staff for far longer.

Like most sewer network managers, one of Myers’ responsibilities is the raising of city manholes to grade after roads are repaved, or when manholes fail and need to be rebuilt or repaired. And in this area, he has made a significant improvement during his tenure as superintendent. “We typically used to fully excavate the manhole chimney and install a full new casting and concrete riser rings as needed to raise manholes to grade,” Myers explained. “We did on occasion use the American Highway Products Pivoted Turnbuckle adjustable risers, but it wasn’t standard practice. I like them and think they’re a better solution, so now its adjustable risers that are our standard practice.”

Why does Myers think AHP risers are better for New Philadelphia? He says the primary consideration is time and labor. “Putting in a brand new casting and new concrete riser rings is certainly a durable and high-quality fix,” he said. “But excavating and then setting and adjusting the new casting and rings could easily take all day, and then we’d usually have to do the hot patching the next day. It was a lot.”

By contrast, AHP adjustable risers can take as little as 10 minutes to install, with no excavation or hot patching required. The secret is the “pivoted turnbuckle”; American Highway Products manhole risers are an open, flexible ring of high-quality, galvanized steel with a turnbuckle that can be expanded or contracted with a screwdriver to fit snugly into original utility rims. They are available in precisely sized increments to match any manhole rim diameter, and any paving lift thickness needed to bring manholes exactly to new paving surface grades. “We order them as needed, in the sizes we need, and they always get to us in a timely manner,” Myers said. “It’s a great product, and they’re a great company to work with—we’ve never had any complaints.” 

The whole installation process is as simple as setting in the new, lightweight riser and cranking the turnbuckle a few times until the riser is seated securely and tightly. Instead of one or two days to raise a single manhole to grade, the AHP adjustable risers make it possible to raise dozens of manholes in a day, all while avoiding extensive traffic closures. In 2019, the town installed 35 of the pivoted turnbuckle risers, including 25 on a single resurfacing project carried out by the state on New Philadelphia’s South Broadway Avenue. 

How do they hold up over time? Myers said: “We’ve had no failures at all—we’ll keep using them.”

The secret is the “pivoted turnbuckle."
The secret is the “pivoted turnbuckle.”

Editor's Note: Scranton Gillette Communications and the SGC Infrastructure Group are not liable for the accuracy, efficacy and validity of the claims made in this piece. The views expressed in this content do not reflect the position of the Roads & Bridges' Editorial Team.

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