The Cultural History of Concrete Manholes and How They Embody Modern Society

Table of Contents

Concrete manholes are important because they are the foundation for much of our infrastructure. Don’t believe me? Keep reading to learn more!

The Historical Importance of Concrete Manholes

The use of concrete manhole structures dates back to the earliest days of Romans establishing cities in Europe. This is not surprising when you consider that Romans were experts at construction and engineering projects such as aqueducts and roads with deep culverts for storm sewers below them.

Just as with the Romans, we use manhole structures to make our daily lives better and more enjoyable. Many people don’t even realize this.

How do Concrete Manholes Shape Our Society?

Manholes are usually see by the average person as they go about their daily routines on city streets and sidewalks. When most people see the metal manhole cover, they simply think that it’s gross down there and that rats live in there. What they don’t realize is that those manhole covers are the doorway to an entire underground system that allows them to enjoy many of the daily comforts they take for granted.

A concrete manhole is a type of structure that sits underground and can be used for a variety of purposes, including draining storm water, collecting, and transporting sewage, or even running cables for television and internet.

If you’ve ever lived in (or visited) New York City, then you not only benefited from the modern applications of how manhole structures shape our society, but you likely saw it in action. For example, it is common to see utility trucks from television, phone, and internet providers such as Verizon or AT&T parked in the middle of a busy NYC street with cones setup around a manhole, and workers shuffling back and forth between their trucks and the manhole. They’re working in those holes, because that is where the cables that provide television, phone, and internet service to the residents of NYC.

If it weren’t for concrete manhole structures underground, all those cables need to be run somewhere else.

Modern Society & Concrete Manholes

Just as our society has improved upon what the Romans built; we have also improved upon our concrete manhole structures. With the advancement of technology all around, as a society we can not only enjoy the benefits of concrete manholes, but we can improve them too.

In recent years, companies have been developing more cost effective and environmentally friendly options to traditional concrete manholes.

One such advancement is polymer concrete manholes, which are much more durable than traditional concrete manholes and are corrosion proof, allowing them to last on average a minimum of twice the lifespan of a traditional concrete structure, and up to 100 years.

So next time you see a manhole cover on your walk through your city, think about how what’s under it not only provides the comforts of your daily life, but how as a society we are improving them too and making them more sustainable and functional.