AHP manhole risers help New York town make needed changes

By Angus Stocking

Clarkstown, NY, is a town of 84,000 residents located roughly 30 miles north of Brooklyn. According to census data, the town’s median household income is more than $118,000, so it would be fair to call the area affluent. Until recently, however, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the town’s 300 miles of roadway.

“Up until 2018, we didn’t do much in the way of annual maintenance other than mill-and-pave and raising manholes to grade with cast iron rings,” said Jeffrey Lawrence, the town’s street construction inspector. “This took a toll on roads, and we realized that we needed a more sophisticated approach if we wanted more mileage for our investment.”

To begin the upgrade, the town began applying ultra-thin, ultra-durable wear layers of advanced paving material, typically applied in one-inch thicknesses. “It’s a better quality surface and a better looking surface, in every important way,” said Lawrence.

While effective, these ultra-thin layers presented a challenge when it came to raising the town’s manholes. The cast iron risers that Clarkstown were using weren’t available in thin sizes. This meant that Lawrence was faced with the possibility that his durable and immaculate new roadway surfaces would be marred by shallow potholes at every manhole. And in a region with regular freeze-and-thaw cycles, not to mention plenty of salt and snow plowing, that scenario just wouldn’t do.

“I started looking around and discovered the American Highway Products Pivoted Turnbuckle Manhole Riser,” said Lawrence.
The AHP adjustable risers are sturdy, lightweight rings of flexible U.S. steel, joined with turnbuckles that make them easy to expand and contract—with no training required. Using a screwdriver as a lever, a crew member can apply 5,600 pounds of even pressure around the entire circumference of the riser. This enormous force easily, and permanently, fits the riser snugly to the existing frame at the exact height needed to match new road grades.

Importantly for Lawrence, they are available in very thin heights and customizable in quarter-inch increments. “In four years, we’ve purchased over 700 American Highway Products risers, mostly in 3/4-inch and 1-inch riser heights,” he says. “They’re high quality, reliable, affordable, and I like that they’re made in the USA.”

Based in Bolivar, Ohio, AHP was founded in 1978 and has developed a product catalog filled with solutions for nearly any road-leveling challenge. Along with the game-changing Pivoted Turnbuckle Manhole Riser, AHP also offers Inclined Manhole Risers, Catch Basins, Inlet Risers, Valve Box Risers and other products for protecting exposed road work.

No matter the product, AHP prides itself on creating solutions that aren’t just reliable but also easy to implement. For Lawrence, that made the Pivoted Turnbuckle Manhole Riser stand above its competition during the town’s road-leveling project.

“An install literally takes just a minute and a half,” said Lawrence, a one-man crew who does most of the riser installs himself. “I clean off the original rim, pop in the riser, and tighten it in.”

It’s a striking difference between the hours-long process of manually adjusting the casting which often requires a two-man crew.

“Honestly, it’s kind of thrilling,” said Lawrence. “And I’ve never had one come out! The American Highway Products riser is a great product, with great results, and makes for a great road!”

Angus Stocking is a former licensed land surveyor who has been writing about infrastructure since 2002. American Highway Products can be reached at 1-888-272-2397 or by email at sales@ahp2.com