M25 manhole covers fail after three weeks

M25 spits out new Kitemarked manhole covers after just three weeks

New manhole covers installed on a busy M25 hard shoulder failed in just three weeks. The Wrekin Products’ Unite was the only design to survive the manhole cover trials, which were part of an investigation into effective usage of the M25 motorway hard shoulder during peak rush hour. The tests were carried out for the Highways Agency by Mouchel, the infrastructure and business services group.

“We found the dynamic forces upon a manhole cover in intense carriageway conditions were not tested for in the existing BS EN124. So we developed our own rigorous testing to create Wrekin Products’ Unite. It is chosen by utilities organisations including Thames Water and Amey on behalf of Birmingham City Council and the Wrekin Products’ Unite manhole cover has no recorded failures in over eight years of use.”
Simon Turner, Sales Director
Manhole covers from a wide selection of manufacturers and suppliers were installed along a stretch of the M25 hard shoulder to evaluate their performance. BS EN 124 – 1994 class E600 manhole covers were chosen for the heavy traffic location in accordance with a Highways Agency directive, but all E600 class failed within three months with the initial failure occurring after just three weeks. Wrekin Products submitted the more cost effective D400 Unite product for the trial because it is designed to withstand dynamic load stress and reduce cover and frame flexing – a major cause of manhole cover failure.

The trial demonstrated that manhole covers that merely met the BS EN 124 European standard cannot cope with heavy traffic conditions. Fractures in some E600 manhole covers caused by dynamic loads started to occur after just one week.

With public funds tight, making savings in road maintenance is essential and replacing manhole covers is costing £40 million every year. Wrekin Products’ Unite significantly exceeds BS EN 124 standards to provide a genuinely ‘fit for purpose’ manhole cover.