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.