the top opening to an underground utility vault used to house an access point for making connections, inspection, valve adjustments or performing maintenance on underground and buried public utility and other services

A manhole (also called a utility hole, cable chamber, maintenance hole , inspection chamber, access chamber or confined space) is a hole for a person to go into to fix underground services. Some examples of these are sewers, telephone, electricity, storm drains and gas.

Manholes in a city street, Perth, Western Australia.
Manhole in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
This is a sewer manhole.

The opening is protected by a manhole cover. A manhole cover can also be called a "biscuit". It is designed to stop people falling down the hole and to stop people going underground if they are not allowed to. Manholes usually have metal or polypropylene steps on the wall to make it easier to get into the manhole.

Manholes are usually found in urban areas, in streets and sometimes under sidewalks. They are usually circular to stop the manhole cover from falling into the hole.


In urban areas, electricity being in places it is not supposed to be (stray voltage) has become a big concern. In 2004, Jodie S. Lane was electrocuted after stepping on a metal manhole cover. She was walking her dog in New York City when it happened.[1]

Related pagesEdit


  1. Ramirez, Anthony (January 19, 2004). "East Village Woman Was Electrocuted on Street With Metal Plate, Medical Examiner Says". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-03.

More readingEdit

  • Ascher, Kate ; researched by Wendy Marech (2007). The works : anatomy of a city (Reprint. ed.). New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 978-0143112709.