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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:28 am 
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Location: East Coast US
Where I live (Maryland, mid-Atlantic part of the USA), our storm drains generally stick out a little into the road way and have grates over them. The grates have steel-and-concrete frames. These have finite lifetimes. All of this is perfectly normal, but it's what happens when one breaks down that I have a problem with.

When the frame, mounting, whatever you want to call it, decays to a certain point, they don't replace it. They remove the grate and frame and put a 4x8 foot (around 1.2x2.4 m) 1" steel plate over the maw that's opened in the road, and put some asphalt around that. The asphalt serves both to keep it in place and to reduce damage to car tires as they drive over it.

This is already a pretty extensive operation. They need jackhammers to chip out the old grate and framing, some sort of lift, probably the bucket of a front-end loader, to lift out the old grate and place the steel plate, and hot asphalt to pack around the plate.

These plates are often in place for years. In the three blocks around my house (and this is only on the service/frontage/access road) there are 7, and one that has a cone on a large hole that a small child could fall through. Two of these plates were displaced by plows after a snow storm last year. Two pairs of these plates are opposite each other, and I'm not sure a plow can go between them, so I have no doubt that more will be displaced in storms this winter.

Does anyone know of a logistical reason it's done this way? It would certainly be more efficient on a number of levels if they just replaced the grate systems rather than removing, patching, removing the patch, and replacing. I live in a pretty wealthy county of over a million people, so it's not like they don't have the resources to have a stock of grate systems. Another alternative is to have drains without grates. This is done on some of the more-traveled roads, and that's all the drains are when they have plates over them.

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Last edited by chas on Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 1:58 pm 
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chas wrote:
Does anyone know of a logistical reason it's done this way?

No clue. Do you have photos?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:11 pm 
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The storm drains look something like this:

Image

The temporary patch looks like this, but with an asphalt lip and no pylons, so that people can drive over it:

Image

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:14 pm 
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Here's what I think: You've definitely got a quality-of-life issue here, and that matters because left long-term, plates are an eyesore, and that's bad for neighborhood morale, not to mention property values. Surely the latter should count if the former's too intangible. So long as it persists unchecked, it's authority-sanctioned dilapidation, and that's as good as vandalism no matter who does it. The limited amount of sense it makes is that the plates are probably intended as a temporary measure with future replacement or wholesale road reconstruction in mind, but that's where any sense ends, because for someone at least, "temporary" is evidently wildly open to interpretation. The plates certainly shouldn't be in place over the winter; they could damage snow plows. It may be that your public works people are simply waiting for enough grates to go out before they make a fell swoop of whatever they ultimately plan to do, and in the meantime they put down the plates as needed. But what counts as "enough"? You already have seven, which strikes me as more than plenty. Is repairing the system a waste of resources if some grates are still yet serviceable? If there's a waste of resources, it's in having to pay people to reinstall and re-seal the plates when they're dislodged. Where's the logic in that? The need for repair isn't ended, and by all indications that need is pressing. If, as you say, your community is not disadvantaged, bandaids and neglect are terrible strategy when infrastructure degrades, and this particular method is functionally ill-considered, because inch-thick plates will impede proper drainage, and the asphalt seal around the edges ensures the obstruction. It makes the gutters a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. A couple of months might be one thing, but years? If I may be blunt, these people need to sh** or get off the pot. A delay of six months would strain what is reasonable, but leaving plates there for years is indefensible when the financial resources are available. Safety issues make it even worse. How would the city not take their own liability into account? Surely there have been complaints, and rightly so. I'd be very curious to know how the city planners can justify this, because the long-term blight they're causing outweighs any other considerations. If they're citing thrift, shame on them. It's apparent in any case that the average citizen doesn't matter to whoever's calling the shots here. It's also apparent that the honchos' own reputations don't matter to them, either. With years of steel plates piling up and still no resolution, I see room for a lawsuit. And I'm not a litigious sort.

Here's what we use in Minneapolis:

Image

Self-contained, built to last, and in harmonious unity with the curb and gutter's profile.

Show that to the poor ninnies if they're so stumped for ideas.

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