Roadway Pipe Inspections: Sharing the Road with Sewers

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Evan Mowbray

Roadway Pipe Inspections: Sharing the Road with Sewers

Sewer systems are often connected along the same path as many systems are connected: through roads. You’ll often find a sewer manhole in the street rather than on the sidewalk or non-road area. These manholes are the primary access point for a lot of sewers, and therefore notable when it comes to video pipe inspections. Why are many sewer access points located on the road?

Outside of roadway adjustments over time widening the road, one of the main reasons for manholes to be in a roadway is for accessibility purposes. You may think being on the roadway would prevent manhole access considering, well, the cars going down the road, but shutting down a portion of the roadway for construction-related activity is a normal process. Roads are often the central feature of towns and cities, creating an understandable route from the surface for sewers to travel between buildings. 

Being in the public right of way also means there’s less reasons for the sewer to not be accessible. Because the manhole is in the roadway directly above the sewer system, it’s not situated on privately owned property, and because it’s not on private property, there are less hoops to jump through in order to perform an inspection. If the manhole is in the street, our team doesn’t have to park in a private yard to perform a pipe inspection, which would create a headache for property owners. While connections to the sewer main are often the responsibility of a property owner, the main sewer line is often a shared system. 

Another aspect is that they often avoid overlapping other utilities. There are a number of utilities you can find along the side of a roadway that provide necessary services, including gas, electric, and communication lines. While having the sewers be dedicated under the road is important in avoiding utility conflicts and/or complete utility relocations when sewers have to be replaced or repaired. We all have to share the road, and the sewer systems below it as well.

With that being said, how does our team at Trinity Subsurface manage a sewer inspection job while working on a busy roadway? It often requires a traffic control team to help perform the work. Picture a series of manholes along a roadway, stretching 800 linear feet in one direction. Our team is often parked on the road itself, and we’ve got cones set up around us along the side of the road we’re working on. We’ll work with our traffic control team to direct cars while we’re inspecting through a manhole. However, there’s a limited length you can stretch with a video pipe crawler from the van. After inspecting the pipe, we remove the crawler from the sewer, clean it off, and work with our traffic control team to move the van to a manhole further along the road, creating a full picture of the shared sewer system.

If you need your sewers inspected, our team at Trinity Subsurface can help examine the conditions from the inside, reporting on their conditions and giving recommendations on how to restore them if needed. Check out our full website to find out more about our pipe rehabilitation services, including NASSCO-certified video pipe inspections, hydro jetting, and pipe lining.

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