Harry G's Deli and Cafe: Testimonial


Corning, New York Testimonial

The City of Corning consists of sixty two centerline miles of streets and roadways. Approximately two miles of these centerline miles are classified as NYSDOT arterials, providing for the bulk of traffic moving into and through the city. These arterials are largely maintained by the City of Corning along with the remaining sixty miles of street and roadways. Along the sixty two centerline miles are approximately two thousand two hundred manholes allowing access to the cities storm and sanitary sewer systems. These manhole covers and frames provide the second biggest challenge after pavement deterioration in maintaining city streets.

The city storm and sanitary sewer system average age is seventy plus years old. Most all of the manholes are constructed of laid up brick and are conical in shape. The biggest problem for city maintenance crews is the steady deterioration of the mortar joint that cements the frame and cover to the top row of brick in a structure. Once the mortar begins to break down, the frame and cover settle into the roadway, creating a low spot in the pavement. These low spots create puddles which is detrimental to both the pavement surface as well as the mortar joints, as well as creating an annoying “thumping” noise whenever traffic passes over the frame and cover. This last situation accounts for easily half of all maintenance requests from citizens for pavement repairs.

In the past few years, like all government entities, the city has had to cut back on both manpower and funding for most all items. With such a large number of defective frames and covers to work on at any one point in time, it is virtually impossible to repair all of the known issues during the construction season. Through experience, we have discovered that it was nearly impossible to hire contractors to perform this work due to both cost and our inability to decide exactly which specific issues were to be given priority over any of the other known defective frame and covers.

After many years of never getting all of the defects repaired, we discovered we could prioritize the need to repair a defective frame and cover simply by an inspection to determine the soundness of the manhole directly beneath the frame. If the manhole itself was not compromised and the frame had settled evenly into the mortar joint, it became a low priority. The next problem with our priority system was how to satisfy the publics desire for a smooth ride and a quiet street.

Our solution was waiting for us in the village of Watkins Glen. On an unrelated trip through the village to look at a piece of equipment, we noticed that along the main travel routes through the village, ever so often we were passing over a “soft” feeling manhole cover. Upon meeting with the village street superintendent, we were provided with a contact to secure Tophats” for our use in Corning.

Once were able to place our order for the “Tophats” with David Abbott of Abart Industries, we were well on our way to reducing the number of ride and noise complaints from citizens relative to defective mortar joints between frames and manhole structures. We placed an order for “Tophats” that solved the majority of the complaints based on a standard manhole diameter and the average depth of settlement of the cover to the road surface. Abart Industries provided detailed instructions on mounting a “Tophat” to a manhole cover as well as all required hardware and drill bits.

We in the City of Corning have been using (and re-using) “Tophats” throughout the city for four plus years at this point in time. We have had a very positive response from the general public in regards to both ride quality and noise reduction while they wait for us to effect a permanent repair to the offending frame and cover. I don’t know that we will ever see the day when we no longer have to prioritize this particular type of a repair or that we will have all known repairs accomplished in a construction season, but our use of “Tophats” has definitely allowed us the ability to prioritize the order in which repairs are made. Another advantage of the “Tophat” temporary repair is the simple fact that we no longer forget about the stable frame that has settled due to the fact that we now have a visual reminder that a particular frame and cover still needs to be repaired. I almost hate to admit this, but we have frames on high traffic streets and roadways that are stable and have had “Tophats” on them for as long as three years with no problems. We have been able to run snowplow blades over them through the winters, and we have only ever torn one “Tophat” off in four years. While I don’t intend to use these as a permanent type of repair, “Tophats” have definitely proved their longevity and durability many times over in our experiences and we whole heartedly endorse them whenever we are ever asked about the product. In the last two days we have provided another local municipality with the contact information to purchase this product for their own use


Ithaca, New York Testimonial

To: Abart Industries
From: Richard Ferrel – Retired Asst. Supt. For Streets and Facilities, City of Ithaca
Date: June 1, 2010
Re: Abart Industries Top Hat Product

The City of Ithaca owns and maintains 76 centerline miles of streets. In addition to maintaining the City streets, Ithaca has an agreement with NYSDOT to provide snow removal/de-icing and minor repairs/routine maintenance procedures to the state owned road sections within the city limits. The New York State owned road sections include parts of NYS Routes 79 (State, Seneca and Greens Streets), NYS Route 13 (Meadow and Fulton Streets), and NYS Route 89 (Taughannock Blvd.) The maintenance procedures include pothole filling, roadside mowing, guide rail and fence repairs, striping, storm sewer cleaning, etc. NYSDOT is responsible for major paving and reconstruction operations on the state owned road sections within the City of Ithaca.

During 2002 through the spring of 2003, the pavement conditions on Seneca and Green Streets (NYS Rt. 79) deteriorated rapidly and required constant pothole attention by the City’s highway crew. The streets were overdue for surface milling and re-surfacing. Unfortunately, the work was not in the local NYSDOT Residencies yearly plan and State funding was not available to add the project. An agreement was made between the NYSDOT Resident Engineer and myself to use combined DOT and City crews to mill out the worst areas of pavement, repair base sections and overlay pave the travel lanes. This operation was to be an interim measure until NYSDOT could fund and schedule a more extensive reconstruction project.

The question of how to address the many utility covers being significantly lower than the new street surface following the pavement overlay was a concern. The time to dig out and re-set the utility covers height to the new pavement elevation was not available. The use of risers under the covers was not considered due to poor results of their use on streets with high traffic volumes and traveled by heavy trucks. I decided to fund and install the recycled rubber Top Hat utility cover risers available through Abart Industries.

In August, 2003, a two person crew from Abart Industries installed twenty eight (28) Top Hat risers on utility covers just prior to paving of the streets. The Top Hats are mechanically attached to the utility covers with stainless steel carriage bolts and nuts after drilling mount holes in the cast iron covers. Abart Industries guaranteed the covers and installations for a three year period following their installation. After the paving of Seneca and Green Streets was completed, the Department of Public Works received many compliments on the now smooth pavement and ride transition over the utility covers.

It is now 2010 and the Top Hats installed during 2003 are still in place on streets averaging over 9000 traveling vehicles per day. None of the installed recycled rubber Top Hats failed. There were a couple locations where nuts came off some of the mount bolts and the covers became loose, but long after the three year warranty period had passed. Abart Industries has remedied the fastener problem by using double nuts on the mount bolts.

I was very pleased with the installed Top Hat utility cover risers as the installation time was considerably less than that of raising utility cover frames to grade and we had no failure rate compared to our experience in using riser rings between frames and covers. While I would not substitute resetting utility covers to grade on street reconstruction projects for use of Top Hat covers, the Top Hats are very useful for many maintenance and interim repair procedures. A few months before my retirement in June 2009, I ordered a couple dozen Top Hats and mounting kits for use in maintenance of other City of Ithaca streets. I would recommend the Top Hat product to other agencies involved with street maintenance.