Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Relies on Adjustable Risers for Manhole Maintenance

Angus W. Stocking, L.S. / September 26, 2019
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Ocean Springs, population 17,500, is a town on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and is, by all accounts, nice; Coastal Living magazine voted it one of the Nation’s 10 Happiest Seaside Towns, it’s known as an arts community, and the well preserved downtown is noted for beautiful brick buildings and the oak trees which line its streets.

Keeping the city nice is largely the responsibility of the 42 members of Ocean Springs’ Public Works Department, who maintain 186 miles of roadway together with 7,200 manholes. For about 30 years, the department has relied on adjustable manhole risers to raise manholes to grade after new paving. “They’ve always just worked,” said Assistant Public Works Director Candice Hooks. “When I took over this position, I reviewed past work and checked with our supervisor, and we’ve never had any problems with them.” The supervisor referred to, Matt Burrell, agreed. “We’ve used them the whole time I’ve been here, and there are places where three or even four risers have been stacked up over the years. They always hold up well.”

The American Highway Products Pivoted Turnbuckle Manhole Riser is a ring of galvanized U.S. steel featuring a patented turnbuckle link used to expand or contract the riser as needed for insertion into manhole rims. Once placed in the rim, the turnbuckle can be expanded with a screwdriver, used as a lever, exerting more than 5,000 lb of force and seating the riser tightly and permanently. The adjustable risers are available in very fine size gradations to match manhole diameter and paving lifts precisely.

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Compared to manually raising rims with excavation and new concrete rings, the AHP risers save money, and many hours of labor. They also improve the quality of newly paved roadways because new asphalt is not removed around the raised manhole, and manholes that are precisely at grade do not cause potholes or raised areas that can damage cars.

“We install the risers just before new asphalt is laid,” said Burrell. “It only takes one man about five minutes to set them securely, which is nice—we only have seven guys on our maintenance crew, so it’s always good to save labor.”

Ocean Springs has been ordering and installing about 60 American Highway Products’ adjustable risers annually for a few decades and plans to continue indefinitely. After all, when a solution works well, holds up over time and saves money, there’s no reason to make a change.