Utility Cover Project Underway on West Campus

Replacement of 12 utility covers may lead to slight traffic delays in coming weeks

Road construction sign with blue background.

Duke Facilities Management is overseeing the replacement of 12 steam utility covers on West Campus roadways over the next few weeks. As a result of the project, which will wrap up around March 27, lanes on several roads will be closed temporarily.

The covers involved are on Science, Research, Sands and Union drives and Genome Court on West Campus. One lane of each road will be closed during the work. The sites will be clearly marked with signs and barricades and have workers on hand directing traffic.

Previously, the covers leading to the maintenance shafts used to maintain campus utilities such as the steam system, were made of cast iron. The heavy 36-inch, or 24-inch covers were difficult to handle and were ineffective in trapping heat from steam leaks and keeping outside moisture away from the system. Duke Facilities Management Project Manager Nasser Massry said that the new covers will better serve Duke’s needs.

“We are replacing those lids with a composite material that is lightweight, doesn’t transfer heat and seals the manhole, so water from rain doesn’t get in and potentially damage the system,” Massry said.

In order to install the new lids, the openings need to be altered, meaning the job of fixing each one can, depending on the quirks of each area, take a few days.

“It’s not as simple as removing the old lid and putting the new one in,” Massry said.

This is the second phase of a larger cover replacement project. The first phase dealt with landscaped areas and didn’t affect campus traffic.

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