Manhole upgrades will cost city nearly $1M - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Manhole upgrades will cost city nearly $1M

September 13th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Manhole upgrades will cost city nearly $1M

By Colleen Sparks, Managing Editor

The City of Chandler is spending nearly $1 million to rehabilitate 56 manholes with the goal of making them stronger and extending their lives.

The City Council last month approved a contract with Felix Construction Company for up to $919,000 to provide structural inserts and adjustment rings, as well as making bench repairs and replacing their covers.

While the price tag may seem high, a city official said it’s a small investment, considering the city has about 19,000 sewer manholes.

“That’s a lot we have to take care of,” said Gina Ishida-Raybourn, city utilities engineering manager. “We have mostly a gravity sewer system, which is one of the most economical types of sewer systems in the industry. The 56 is a fraction of what we’re responsible for maintaining.

“In the Valley I have not heard of any sewer manhole actually collapsing but no one wants to be that first one. We want to be responsible and think ahead for these,” Ishida-Raybourn added.

Ishida-Raybourn said the manholes give the city access to “maintain the sewer pipes.” Cockroaches and other vermin get attracted to sewer systems and damage them.

“We don’t want those populations running out of control,” Ishida-Raybourn said. “Wastewater could back up into homes and businesses. We’re not in that danger but we don’t want to be.”

Rather than asking for bids from various companies that wanted to do the manhole upgrades, the city chose Felix Construction Company because the business had worked with the city previously.

“We got together with them and negotiated out the price,” Ishida-Raybourn said. “We know the quality of work we’re gonna get. We know these contractors and they’re also more open; they want to keep a good relationship with the city. They’re more flexible.”

Felix Construction Company has offices in Surprise and Coolidge, as well as in New Mexico and Texas.

Dibble Engineering, which has several offices in Arizona and one in Denver, is overseeing the manhole project at a cost to the city not to exceed $131,330.

“Utility projects can be quite expensive and it’s because there’s a lot of other requirements as far as county and state agencies that we have to be in compliance with,” Ishida-Raybourn said. “There are very rigid standards that we have to uphold.”

She said the estimated life of a rehabilitated manhole is 25 to 40 years.

Ishida-Raybourn said no roads will be closed while the manholes are renovated but traffic may be restricted.

For example, a two-lane road might be down to just one lane for drivers during non-peak traffic hours.

The manholes that will be refurbished are on Chandler Heights Road between Arizona Avenue and McQueen Road, as well as on Queen Creek Road between McQueen and Gilbert roads and on Warner Road from around Dobson Road to just east of Arizona Avenue.