Fairfax VA Makes a Long-Term Commitment to Better Manhole Raising

April 3, 2023

Fairfax, Virginia is a city with just 24,000 residents which sounds small until one realizes that Fairfax sits squarely within the highly congested Washington D.C. Metro area and is bounded and nearly bisected by some of the busiest highways in the United States, including notoriously congested I-66. The impact of heavy traffic is just one reason Wastewater Maintenance Supervisor Rene Romero prefers to use the adjustable Pivoted Turnbuckle Manhole Riser from American Highway Products when raising manhole lids to grade after new paving lifts or emergency repairs. “They’re just a very practical solution for the high-volume traffic we see in the D.C. Metro,” he explains. “I-66 and Fairfax Blvd actually run together for a bit here, and anything we can do to reduce the time our crews spend in traffic, or closing lanes, is greatly appreciated.”

Romero’s department is responsible for about 2,000 manholes and must raise 35-50 manholes to new grade after paving lifts every year. Fairfax used to raise manholes to grade by excavating manhole chimneys and installing precast concrete rings, a labor-intensive process due to the excavating and because concrete rings are heavy and surprisingly fragile.

But in the mid-90’s, Romero’s predecessor Steve Walls began looking for a better solution, and evaluated all the adjustable risers on the market before settling on American Highway Products’ risers, which he used exclusively for 18 years.

Walls really liked the patented pivoted turnbuckle adjusting mechanisms that links the durable steel rings of which the risers are made—he felt they were stronger, easier to adjust, and seated the risers more tightly in original utility rims than every other adjusting mechanism available.

Shortly before his retirement in 2012, Walls concluded, “Our manhole ring problems have been zero—so far, in 18 years, every one we have installed is still there! Not one has come loose or been broken.”

Ten years later, Romero agrees. “They hold up well,” he says. “And in emergencies, like we had on Fairfax Blvd recently where an old cast iron riser dislodged, they’re so fast to install! That time, we got the call, drove back to the shop to get the right-sized riser, and had the new riser installed and manhole secured in less than an hour.” 

In Fairfax, American Highway Products Pivoted Turnbuckle Risers have been staying strong and saving time and labor on roadway paving projects for 30 years.