VPC’s relationship with the City of Wichita, KS began in 2017 with the installation of several of VPC’s Traffic Rated Hinged Lockable Fiberglass Manhole Covers. The following year, Wichita’s Stormwater Department contacted VPC to help develop a solution for two distinct sizes of Storm Drain Manhole Cover and frame sets currently used by the city for Catch Basins. City Operators were running into several challenges with the existing covers, including repeated theft of existing cast-iron storm drain covers. City operators found that the current lids were being stolen for scrap value which became a public safety issue; a missing cover becomes a severe hazard for pedestrians and drivers alike. In addition, the city recognized that cast-iron lids are extremely heavy and awkward to handle and can become a safety issue for operators cleaning and inspecting the structures.
While cast iron has been commonly used in manhole covers and frames due to its durability and high compressive strength, it’s still subject to corrosion and decay over time.
Why Corrosion is An Issue:
Weaken Traffic Load Ratings –
The city determined that replacing existing metal lids with FRP Fiberglass Storm Drain Manhole Covers and frames would provide a long-term solution that would not rust or corrode in the elements and would be lighter and safer to handle. The city would also no longer have the monetary burden of replacing lids stolen for their scrap value.
VPC’s hinged design allows greater ease of operation with a predictable guided lift compared to the existing covers. The storm drain covers are fabricated using a compression molding process. This production process creates a structurally dense product compared to traditional open-molded production techniques. The result is a heavy-duty fiberglass cover and frame assembly that can sustain traffic loads as required for the application.
VPC Fiberglass’s custom Storm Drain Manhole Cover and frame set was designed to be installed behind curbs on the roadways commonly found throughout Wichita, with an opening at the curb to allow stormwater to flow from the road into an Underground Catch Basin. The below video, provided by the City of Wichita, reviews the process for replacing metal storm drain covers with durable, long-lasting FRP storm drain covers.