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  1. #1
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    Who is responsible for raising sewer and water caps to be level with the runway

    A roadway here has just been repaid. Who is responsible for raising the sewer, water, gas access caps in the roadway to make them level with the road. Is it the paving contractor? Or does the water company, the sewer company, the gas company have to do it. This takes place in Northern California.

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    The city should be responsible I believe, or at least if you report it to the city office they will see that it gets fixed

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    Best suggestion? Contact the local governmental body, in writing, and note who you gave it to - telling them they have created a hazard. Let them know you created a record of your complaint. No kidding!

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    The roadway should have been scraped down so that the new paving would be even with the utilities. Raising manholes is expensive and is only done when they collapse or a when the grade or crown of a road is changed for runoff (and should be done before paving). Something isn't right here.
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    It's part of the paving contract. Either old pavement is scraped back, so the new ends up at the same height. Or the job is prepped, by an advance crew digging out all metal fittings, shimming the rims up to the projected pavement height, and cementing in place before the paving is done. Many times it's a matter of both being done.

    This is why you'll often see donuts cut around manholes and filled with cement before the paving is done to blend it all together.

    Now, who actually does the work depends on how contracts are written. They might contract the advance work to a cut and fill contractor, and the actual paving to a company that does just that and nothing else.
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    Undoubtedly it depends on the actual contract statement of work. On my city/county streets that are getting repaved it isn't obvious if it is the same contractor as the paving contractor or there are multiple contractors involved, or if the utilities are responsible. On our city jobs someone comes in and removes all the manholes (appears to be a fixture about a foot high) and places temp covers. Then the paver comes in takes a cut (how much depends on the severity of the damage) and repaves with new asphalt concrete. Finally after a while (seems like can take a month) a contractor comes back, cuts out the new pavement where the manhole is and resets the manhole fixture. In a couple places where they rolled the new asphalt they created leaks in fireplug laterals and had to repair and patch after the water utility fixed the pipe. Finally they restripe and insert traffic light sensor loops.

    I would contact the city/county/state highway agency that owns the road and try to get a hold of the project engineer to see who is responsible. If unresponsive you may need to contact your political person.

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    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Buster View Post
    The roadway should have been scraped down so that the new paving would be even with the utilities. Raising manholes is expensive and is only done when they collapse or a when the grade or crown of a road is changed for runoff (and should be done before paving). Something isn't right here.
    Actually, raising them is quite cheap if you use polypropylene.

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    BF Avatar Zombie Hunter Jseis's Avatar
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    FBinNY is correct. But.....sometimes they don't order the right lift rings (steel rings that fit the manhole and compensate for the asphalt/concrete lift. Ring goes on, manhole lid goes on the ring) or the lift is thin and then you get peaks and valleys. Or....the manhole and road settle at different rates and the manhole footing stays put as the road compresses around it. If the municipal public works director doesn't get the construction specs right and/or doesn't administer the contract to the spec....result is a bad job. Common in small poorly run cities.
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    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgrebed View Post
    A roadway here has just been repaid. Who is responsible for raising the sewer, water, gas access caps in the roadway to make them level with the road. Is it the paving contractor? Or does the water company, the sewer company, the gas company have to do it. This takes place in Northern California.
    Call your local public works department and ask that they level the valve cans.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    I've had road issues corrected by contacting the governing authority for that particular section of road. This varied from municipal to county to state. I'd start out contacting one, describing the location and issue, and they'd tell me who to contact if it wasn't them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Buster View Post
    The roadway should have been scraped down so that the new paving would be even with the utilities.
    +1 This is the answer you're looking for. If the pavement wasn't milled before resurfacing, then they're not going to fix it in all likelihood. They could easily, but odds are, they won't because milling is the most common way to avoid this issue and it's much easier than anything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgrebed View Post
    A roadway here has just been repaid. Who is responsible for raising the sewer, water, gas access caps in the roadway to make them level with the road. Is it the paving contractor? Or does the water company, the sewer company, the gas company have to do it. This takes place in Northern California.
    The road work is completed, correct? I'd really like to hear the final outcome of a request to remove the just-laid surface to raise the access caps. Unless these are so egregiously deep that a car is facing damage, I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that nothing is going to happen.

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    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    You should absolutely follow the advice to report it in writing and say that it constitutes a hazard. That should make them legally liable for injuries caused as a result of not fixing it.

    My mom once tripped on a piece of heaved-up sidewalk that had been reported to the city several weeks before. They fell over themselves to pay for her cosmetic surgery and new glasses to make her happy lest she sue them for pain and suffering/etc. And they fixed it the next day.
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  14. #14
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    I think it is more jurisdictional nonsense, as to how the local road engineers are told to repave the road. Gas stations are one thing. Where covers to the pipes going to the oil tanks under the station are raised. But, Someone has to say how to pave over street sewage/drain covers.

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    Out west we've three basic forms of municipal government; City, County, State. Back east you've got the three plus townships, boroughs and what ever other CF on top. Worse...main highways (not freeways) are typical fed-aid highways because few municipalities can afford to maintain these main arterials that connect communities. So it's not unusual to have a state contract for a fed aid project go through a municipality. If it's not a fed aid street...well then it drops way down the list on maintenance but usually less traffic means less maintenance. 'Course cold weather & salt destroy roads. Then there are sewer and water districts, road districts, but I digress zzzzz.
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    OP, please post a photo of the problem.

  17. #17
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    You should absolutely follow the advice to report it in writing and say that it constitutes a hazard. That should make them legally liable for injuries caused as a result of not fixing it.
    This response doesn't answer the OP's question as to whom/what organization should he report the problem. Who would he sue? The question is/was: who is "them"?

    Other responses provided the likely/usual suspects, but the OP needs to find out for himself who is responsible for this specific problem in this specific location.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    This response doesn't answer the OP's question was to whom/what organization should he report the problem. Who would he sue. The question was: who is "them"?
    And there's no way anyone could answer the question because it's a local issue. Depending on where you are, your water company might own/operate your sewer, a local sewer authority, etc. In some cases, water & sewer are provided by the same entity, in some places, they're not.

    The OP is going to have to do some investigating on his own to get the answer to his question.

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
    And there's no way in anyone's right mind that they could answer the question because it's a local issue. Depending on where you are, your water company might own/operate your sewer, a local sewer authority, etc. In some cases, water & sewer are provided by the same entity, in some places, they're not.

    The OP is going to have to do some investigating on his own to get the answer to his question.
    Exactly correct.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Exactly correct.
    Generally speaking, though, paving contracts should specify this sort of thing. The reason milling is typically done is so that the new pavement doesn't get higher than storm drains and other drainage facilities. It often has nothing to do with ensuring that manholes (be they for telephone, water/sewer, etc) are level with the pavement.

    At least in my neck of the woods, they always mill, but in many other areas I've seen, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
    And there's no way anyone could answer the question because it's a local issue. Depending on where you are, your water company might own/operate your sewer, a local sewer authority, etc. In some cases, water & sewer are provided by the same entity, in some places, they're not.

    The OP is going to have to do some investigating on his own to get the answer to his question.
    There's no way for us to answer the who. In New York, for example, it could be the city or town, the county, or the stare. I wiyld start at the nearest police station, and ask the desk sargeant who "owns" that road or street. Or you can sometimes know if it has a county or state highway number assigned.

    Once he has the agency, it's between them and the contractor to flesh out who's going to pay to have the issue dealt with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
    Generally speaking, though, paving contracts should specify this sort of thing. The reason milling is typically done is so that the new pavement doesn't get higher than storm drains and other drainage facilities. It often has nothing to do with ensuring that manholes (be they for telephone, water/sewer, etc) are level with the pavement.

    At least in my neck of the woods, they always mill, but in many other areas I've seen, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.
    Drains don't have to be even with the pavement to drain. As long as they're lower, the water will still go down. The reason you want things even is because the constant hammering of the pseudo pothole by traffic will damage the structure or pipes underneath.
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    The roadway in question is Danville blvd between Danville and Walnut creek and worker are working on raising some of the caps. So someone is doing their job!

    doug

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    Out west we've three basic forms of municipal government; City, County, State. Back east you've got the three plus townships, boroughs and what ever other CF on top. Worse...main highways (not freeways) are typical fed-aid highways because few municipalities can afford to maintain these main arterials that connect communities. So it's not unusual to have a state contract for a fed aid project go through a municipality. If it's not a fed aid street...well then it drops way down the list on maintenance but usually less traffic means less maintenance. 'Course cold weather & salt destroy roads. Then there are sewer and water districts, road districts, but I digress zzzzz.
    In Rhode Island and Connecticut there is only two types of government Town (or City) and State that take care of roads, There are fire districts but these mostly but not only take care of fire protection. I do know of one fire district that also provides trash pickup and another that has dock space for boats but nothing to do with roads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgrebed View Post
    The roadway in question is Danville blvd between Danville and Walnut creek and worker are working on raising some of the caps. So someone is doing their job!
    I was wondering if that might be the street in question. The San Ramon extension of the same road has been completed and they've done an excellent job of making the drains and various access covers level with the new pavement surface.

    BTW, the 'Bike East Bay' advocacy group has a hazard report form on their website for listing any road problems you encounter in the area. They will determine which organization is responsible and already have the appropriate contacts to see about getting issues resolved. The form is at:
    https://bikeeastbay.org/hazards
    I've found it to work quite well when I've reported traffic lights that don't detect bikes, pavement cracks that are hazardous, etc.

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