Every facet of the construction industry is driven in one way or another by the bottom line. Similarly, local governments responsible for maintaining and improving infrastructure must be mindful of their budgets, especially since municipalities are challenged with limited funding. Today’s civil engineers play a huge role in helping city managers balance construction priorities with fiscal responsibility. One strategy is to recommend out-of-the-box solutions to either cut upfront construction costs or preserve infrastructure for longer periods. But what if you could achieve both?

You can when you utilize Ladtech’s high-density polyethylene (HDPE) manhole rings, which feature a mortarless, watertight assembly with a precision fit suitable for a wide range of slopes and sizes. Engineered and designed to replace all existing concrete, brick and rubber ring products, Ladtech’s HDPE system is capable of reducing manhole and catch-basin ring costs by 50%. In addition to being more economical, this solution is easier to use, functions better, requires less maintenance and is made from recycled waste material.

Ladtech rings are designed to meet ASTM and AASHTO HS-25 specifications and other standards. Furthermore, they have undergone rigorous testing by American Engineering Testing, a third-party laboratory, and proven capable of lasting 80-100 years. This durable, corrosion-resistant product is competitively priced and offers considerable life-cycle savings in comparison to concrete systems, which typically last five to 25 years. These and other data-driven advantages are reassuring to specifying engineers seeking products with reliable, verified performance results.

Since its rollout in 1994, the “Ladtech System” has been installed in millions of manhole chimney sections across the United States, Canada and the Bahamas. Many city engineers have tested these products on their own terms – and have been surprised and encouraged by the results. For example, Jim Fruechtl, former city engineering construction coordinator with the Public Works Dept. in Apple Valley, Minn., decided to give Ladtech’s HDPE rings a try to see if laboratory testing translated to real-life conditions. His team monitored the product’s performance over the course of several years and found that it easily withstood the constant pounding and vibration of vehicles and also weather, including harsh freeze/thaw conditions. “There was no deterioration, cracking or breaking,” Fruechtl confirms. By 1998, Apple Valley specified HDPE collars exclusively. Fruechtl notes, “We installed Ladtech rings more than 20 years ago, and they look exactly the same today. These installs have eliminated inflow and virtually eliminated reconstruct.”

Hundreds of other municipalities have implemented the Ladtech System, some following Apple Valley’s example in only specifying Ladtech products for manhole construction. In total, more than 4 million HDPE rings are in service nationwide with no signs of breakage or degradation. This trend serves to show that when industry professionals and municipalities break convention to embrace an innovative, proven technology, others are sure to follow suit.

Now more than ever, creative solutions such as this are needed to improve city infrastructure and free up resources for other priorities. Ladtech CEO Dwight Wiedrich states, “We are approved in every state, including Alaska and Hawaii. In Minnesota alone, we provide about 80 percent of rings used in the state. The buy-in comes from establishing trust and rapport with local general contractors and infrastructure planning representatives. Our true success, however, comes from sharing the value of our products with engineering professionals. Their stewardship of communities is focused on ingenuity – and Ladtech meets that criteria.”