Fayette County

New machine will raise manholes to street level

The ride on Lexington streets is about to get smoother.

The city is buying a manhole machine to raise manholes on city roads so that they are nearly level with the roadway.

The machine, which will cost about $50,000, will be in operation by the fall, said Don Kelly, the city's public works and development commissioner.

A priority has been placed on making sure manholes are close to grade level, Kelly said.

The administration has included raising manholes to grade level as part of every road-resurfacing contract issued since Mayor Jim Newberry has been in office, Kelly said.

For several years, manholes weren't raised when roads were resurfaced.

No one knows how man manholes are in driving lanes around town, but there are probably hundreds of them, Kelly said.

“Some of them are sewer, some of them are utilities such as gas and water,” he said. “There's just a bunch of them.”

Over the years, many manholes that were previously in medians or in the middle of the road where cars didn't hit them have been moved into driving lanes as roads were widened, Kelly said.

Even after the manholes are raised, the road won't be completely smooth, Kelly said. The manholes will remain about a quarter of an inch below the road surface so that they don't interfere with snow plows.