Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, March 06, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Reader asks for a small fix at Hill Road and Collister Drive, then sees big work; ACHD focusing on "concrete" solutions to manhole bumps

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Given the incredible response to my last two requests to the Road Wizard, I fear how this minor wish will be addressed. Way back in October of 2014, I asked for a troublesome asphalt wrinkle in the Hill Road/Collister Drive intersection to be flattened. That wrinkle was quickly ground down and then, just a few weeks later, I got a completely new Hill Road! At the same time, I asked for a brush crew to clear space alongside the then very narrow 36th Street north of Hill Road to accommodate pedestrians walking off of the pavement. Instead, I received a completely re-engineered roadbed, wide shoulders and a lovely bright fog line. My new request is simply for a street sweeping pass on the Quail Ridge roads above Collister.

Road Wizard:

Another amazing thing about Bill's 2014 requests was that his letter was not even posted to the newspaper column. Even so, I sent his comments to ACHD and, one way or another, the asphalt wrinkle was smoothed out.

But Hill Road and 36th Street were already scheduled for major projects; neither happened as a result of Bill's comments.

A long stretch of Hill Road received an asphalt overlay, while 36th was redesigned. The developer of new homes on 36th was required to widen the less-than-pedestrian-friendly route and pay for a portion of the new pavement surface. In addition, there is now a bicycle/pedestrian lane.

As for Quail Ridge, an ACHD sweeper truck operator went out and cleaned the streets after getting the request. There is also more road work coming to this area. This time it is going to be a summer chip seal project. But please do not blame Bill! He is not responsible for the next round of work either.

Dear Road Wizard: Please, please, please, level the manhole covers, especially on the newly chip sealed roads. They are worse than winter/spring chuckholes, and our cars are unhappy.

Road Wizard:

Manhole covers are a constant headache. They may be installed close to street grade to begin with, but road resurfacing projects, such as chip sealing, raise the level of the road surface and cause the manhole cover to "sink."

I've watched ACHD try various methods to keep manholes as flush with surrounding surfaces as possible. One experiment was to use metal rings to lift the lids, but the clankity-clank drove people nuts.

Most recently, ACHD has taken on the job and expense of building all manhole "collars." The collars are the circle of concrete around the manhole. In the past, it was often the duty of the utility owner to collar the manholes when new roads were built.

With ACHD now handling all collar creations, the agency can be certain the concrete placement meets set standards.

That is key in preventing chuckhole-style bumps because ACHD requires that new concrete collars be within one-fourth of an inch above the road. While a little bumpy at first, the collars settle over time, and it all evens out.  

Multiple chip seal layers will still become a problem. The best fix at the moment is to install new collars. Residents can request that ACHD look at specific manholes in need of an "up" date, but keep in mind that this is expensive work that disrupts traffic. The job is done in only the most jarring situations.

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