Contact Street Smarts
Problem manhole covers on Mission Street need repair, reader says
Dear Street Smarts, Q: I'm extremely happy that most of the work on Mission Street has been completed. The only problem is that the manhole covers are not even close to being even with the roadway and if you hit it wrong, it's like hitting a giant pothole. I can't believe more people aren't complaining about it. Have you heard of any plans to repair the manhole covers? Someone with low profile tires is going to surely have a blow out. Thanks, Doug Lang via email A: It depends on who the manhole covers belong to that will determine how any repairs would move forward. While Mission Street is also Highway 1, which falls under Caltrans' jurisdiction, some of the manhole covers belong to the city. Some of the covers are sewer manholes, others are water valves, while the remaining are storm drain covers, said Chris Schneiter, assistant director of city public works. The first two are city facilities while the third belong to Caltrans, he said. So far, it appears some problem manholes are wastewater facilities near Walnut Street, he said. Those were in need of attention before the paving project began, he added. If Caltrans was to go in to make the repairs, it would have to ask the city for permission. That has yet to happen, he said. Meanwhile, Caltrans also is investigating the issue. “Yes, there are a lot of manhole covers and water valve covers that are low,” said Susana Cruz, Caltrans spokesperson. “It is not part of this contract to raise them because they were already low prior to beginning our work.” The paving project added about 1/8 inch to the surface, she said. Now that Mission Street is sporting new pavement and striping, “people are noticing the bumps,” she added. “The covers are the responsibility of the utilities that own them.” However, if there is money left over from the contract, Caltrans could raise them, Cruz said. If the utilities belong to Santa Cruz, the repairs would be as easy as getting permission, she said. However, if any of the manholes belong to utility companies, such as PG&E or AT&T, Caltrans would not be able to raise them, Cruz said. The utility companies would have to do that, she said. Cruz is looking into who owns the problem manholes and said to stay tuned.