By Travis Doyle
San Antonio Water System replaced a manhole cover May 1 on San Pedro Avenue west of McCreless Hall after it had previously collapsed into the water pipes below the street.
Traffic the afternoon of April 30 was moved to one lane by a fire truck and police car after the temporary fix of a 6-foot by 10-foot steel plate over the broken manhole cover was pushed to the side by traffic.
Charlie Johnson, right of way manager with City of San Antonio Transportation and Capital Investments, said in an interview April 30 when buses, trucks and cars start and stop on top of the plate before the traffic light at Dewey Place, it may cause the plate to slide.
The weight of the cars and the force created from the tires starting and stopping puts pressure over the plate that can push it out of place.
The plate originally covered the top of a cracked manhole cover that dropped pieces into the water pipes below.
“Eventually, it’s going to get bigger and bigger and a motorcyclist will fall in, or a car will hit it and destroy the car,” firefighter Patrick Vital said. “Even a little hole like that could pop tires or take out a motorcyclist or people on them little scooters.”
SAWS does not know when the cover cracked and dropped, but the steel plate was placed April 26, Isabel Walters, SAWS communications employee, said.
Plates like this are used by SAWS to cover up holes the organization is working on, or in this case a broken manhole.
The asphalt around the manhole was cracked, also.
Ruben Rodriquez, SAWS employee, said in an interview April 30 that manholes get worn out pretty badly in traffic “but I’ve never seen one this bad before that’s cracked like this.”
The plate was originally lined April 26 with asphalt to secure as a temporary fix until the manhole cover could be replaced, but the asphalt was worn down and allowed the plate to be pushed out of the way by traffic.
Employees from the City of San Antonio Transportation and Capital Improvements department arrived at 4:17 p.m. April 30 and used a straight-arm truck with a claw to lift the plate and re-position it over the manhole.
Employees from SAWS arrived at 4:47 p.m. to move the plate so they could measure the cover for a replacement.
To report water emergencies, call SAWS by dialing 3-1-1 and following the menu.