Manhole covers are set to get become less slippery thanks to a makeover with a new cover, called the GripTop.

Develop by Saint-Gobain Pipelines, Europe’s biggest manufacturer of access covers and gratings for roads, the new GripTop covers combine the strength and durability of ductile iron with the proven stopping power of aggregate. As the aggregate retains the sharp edges and facets produced during crushing, it maintains its grip over time, even with high volumes of passing traffic.

The dangers posed to both motorcyclists and cyclists by traditional metal access covers have been highlighted by the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA), which has called for the use of covers with in-service skid resistance.

Daniel Débois of Saint-Gobain Pipelines says: “Traditional iron and steel access covers are designed with raised metal studs to increase grip. FEMA highlighted in its campaign to improve conditions for cyclists and bikers that when these become polished by passing traffic it results in poor skid resistance compared to the surrounding highway. As the market leader for these products, we have responded by investing in the development of a safer product."

Before launching the covers onto the market, Saint-Gobain Pipelines carried out an extensive trial in Bristol, with over 70 covers being installed in the city’s Broadmead redevelopment project.

Mike Brewer, Senior Network Management Officer of Bristol City Council, and his team reported: “We monitored the covers over a two-year period and there were no instances of failure and there was no need for further treatment despite heavy traffic. Feedback was excellent and we are confident that GripTopTM will make a positive contribution to improving the quality and safety of road surfaces in the future."

Further information on GripTop can be found at