Nailsea trials new manhole cover

PLASTIC manhole covers could be introduced in streets across North Somerset in a bid to prevent metal ones being stolen for scrap.

A plastic anti-skid manhole cover is currently being trialled in Nailsea before North Somerset Council decides whether to role it out to other areas.

In March the Times reported how 16 gully and utility covers had been taken from streets in Backwell and Clevedon in two days, costing North Somerset Council about �5,000.

And although the new covers cost more, the council believes they are less likely to be stolen as they have no scrap value.

It is hoped that following the trial in Fryth Way, the plastic alternative will be rolled out to other areas in the district and will eventually improve road safety.

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A council spokesman, said: “Iron manhole covers can get very slippery for all road users in wet conditions.

“Motorcyclists and cyclists who have fewer points of contact with the road surface, particularly struggle with the slippery surface and often find that service covers are located within their riding line.”

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A bikers’ organisation will give the council feedback about the cover’s performance over the next six months.

A Motorcycle Action Group spokesman said: “Consistent grip is essential to motorcycles and sudden changes in traction can be very dangerous.

“The new design helps to resolve the problems caused by slippery metal manhole covers and are a significant development in road safety.”

The covers cost about �400 each and last for 15 years, compared to the metal ones which cost �110 but need replacing every five years.

If the trial is successful the council will begin replacing metal covers during routine maintenance and at accident black-spots, working alongside the utility companies who mostly own them.

The unitary authority is currently working on replacing covers in Church Lane, Backwell, which were stolen nine months ago, after residents complained the cordoned off open holes were dangerous.

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