The Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers loses 15 to 20 manhole covers per month to criminals stealing them to sell the iron, leading to ¢20 million in replacement costs per year.
AyA has come up with a design using new material that will prevent theft. By using a ductile iron cover made of an alloy of iron and granite, the new covers will not melt easily, making them less attractive. Additionally, they will be attached to a safety frame which is secured with cement. They will also have a lock that requires a special key.
Each will have a lifespan of 35-40 years and will cost about ¢105,000, just ¢25,000 more than those made of conventional iron. These will be used in hot spots for thefts, such as Desamparados, Pavas, La Uruca, León XIII and Tibás.
This is a very important issue because these robberies increase the chances of accidents. Motorcyclists and pedestrians are especially vulnerable to falling in uncapped manholes. The AyA faced two lawsuits for such incidents.