Title:
Conduit assembly and method of use thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A conduit assembly for supporting a cover of a maintenance structure with a passage therein. The conduit assembly includes one or more conduit segments. Each conduit segment has at least one aperture, an also includes top and bottom surfaces adapted to be positioned adjacent to bottom and top surfaces respectively of other conduit segments to form a conduit structure having a conduit passage therein alignable with the passage. The conduit structure has an inner wall surface defining the conduit passage and an opposed outer wall surface adapted to receive a coating of mortar. The conduit assembly also includes one or more shims for positioning on the top surface of the conduit segment, for locating the cover substantially at a predetermined position therefor.



Inventors:
Taylor, Ken (Orangeville, CA)
Taylor, Cynthia (Orangeville, CA)
Application Number:
10/996429
Publication Date:
06/15/2006
Filing Date:
11/26/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUCKLE JR, JAMES J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Valentine, Cottrill A. (SUITE 1020 50 QUEEN STREET NORTH, KITCHENER, ON, N2H6M2, CA)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A conduit assembly for supporting a cover of a maintenance structure with a passage therein, the conduit assembly comprising: a plurality of conduit segments, each said conduit segment having at least one aperture; each said conduit segment having a top surface adapted to be positioned facing upwardly and a bottom surface positioned opposite to the top surface and adapted to be positioned facing downwardly, said top surface and said bottom surface being adapted to cooperate with bottom and top surfaces respectively of adjacent conduit segments such that said adjacent conduit segments are maintained in position relative to each other to form a conduit structure having a conduit passage therein, the conduit passage being alignable with the passage; the conduit structure having an inner wall surface defining the conduit passage and an opposed outer wall surface adapted to receive a coating of mortar; and at least one shim to be positioned on the top surface of at least one conduit segment, for locating the cover substantially at a predetermined position therefor.

2. A conduit assembly according to claim 1 in which each said conduit segment includes at least two cavities in the bottom surface thereof, for facilitating movement of each said conduit segment.

3. A conduit assembly according to claim 1 in which the top surface of each said conduit segment includes at least one channel in which said at least one shim is receivable, for maintaining said at least one shim in a preselected position relative to the top surface.

4. A conduit assembly according to claim 1 comprising high-density polyethylene.

5. A conduit assembly according to claim 1 in which at least one of said conduit segments includes: a body with a main portion and at least one detachable portion adapted for removal from said main portion, to result in an opening in the conduit structure extending between said outer wall surface and said inner wall surface thereof; and the conduit assembly additionally including at least one pipe segment having an inner end and an outer end, the inner end being receivable in said opening in the conduit structure, and the outer end being positionable a predetermined distance outside the conduit structure to provide for drainage through said at least one pipe segment into the conduit passage.

6. A conduit assembly according to claim 1 in which each conduit segment includes at least one ladder rung positioned for location in the conduit passage.

7. A conduit assembly according to claim 1 in which the conduit structure defines a conduit passage having substantially a round cross-section.

8. A conduit assembly according to claim 1 in which the conduit structure defines a conduit passage having a substantially square cross-section.

9. A conduit assembly according to claim 1 in which the conduit structure defines a conduit passage having a substantially rectangular cross-section.

10. A conduit assembly for supporting a cover of a maintenance structure with a passage therein, the conduit assembly comprising: at least one conduit segment having at least one aperture; said at least one conduit segment being positionable on the maintenance structure such that said at least one aperture is substantially alignable with the passage; and at least one shim to be positioned on the top surface of said at least one conduit segment, for locating the cover substantially at a predetermined position therefor.

11. A conduit assembly according to claim 10 in which said at least one conduit segment includes at least two cavities in the bottom surface thereof, for facilitating movement of said at least one conduit segment.

12. A conduit assembly according to claim 10 in which the top surface of said at least one conduit segment includes at least one channel in which said at least one shim is receivable, for maintaining said at least one shim in a preselected position relative to the top surface.

13. A conduit assembly according to claim 10 comprising high-density polyethylene.

14. A conduit assembly according to claim 10 in which said at least one conduit segment has an inner wall surface defining said at least one aperture and an opposed outer wall surface adapted for receiving a coating of mortar.

15. A conduit segment for supporting a cover of a maintenance structure, the maintenance structure having a passage therein, the conduit segment comprising: a body with at least one aperture therein; the body having a top surface and a bottom surface positioned opposite to the top surface, the top and bottom surfaces being adapted to cooperate with bottom and top surfaces respectively of adjacent conduit segments to form a conduit structure; and the top surface being adapted for receiving at least one shim, to locate the cover substantially at a predetermined position.

16. A conduit segment according to claim 15 in which the body includes at least two cavities in the bottom surface thereof, for facilitating movement thereof.

17. A conduit segment according to claim 15 in which the top surface includes at least one channel for receiving said at least one shim, said at least one channel being adapted to maintain said at least one shim in a preselected position relative to the top surface.

18. A conduit segment according to claim 15 comprising high-density polyethylene.

19. A conduit segment according to claim 15 in which the body includes a main portion and at least one detachable portion adapted for removal therefrom, to create an opening between an inner wall surface of the conduit segment defining said at least one aperture and an outer wall surface located opposite the inner wall surface, for receiving at least part of at least one pipe segment.

20. A method of locating a cover of a maintenance structure at a predetermined position, the maintenance structure having a passage therein, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing at least one conduit segment having at least one aperture; (b) positioning said at least one conduit segment on the maintenance structure such that said at least one aperture is substantially aligned with the passage in the maintenance structure, to form a conduit structure defining a conduit passage therein substantially aligned with the passage; (c) positioning the cover on the conduit structure; (d) providing at least one shim; and (e) interposing said at least one shim between said at least one conduit segment and the cover, for locating the cover at a predetermined position therefor.

21. A method of locating a cover of a maintenance structure at a predetermined position, the maintenance structure having a passage therein, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing at least one conduit segment having at least one aperture, said at least one conduit segment having a top surface and a bottom surface positioned opposite to the top surface, the top surface including at least one channel; (b) positioning said at least one conduit segment on the maintenance structure such that said at least one aperture is substantially aligned with the passage in the maintenance structure, to form a conduit structure defining a conduit passage therein substantially aligned with the passage; (c) positioning the cover on the conduit structure; (d) providing at least one shim receivable in said at least one channel; and (e) interposing said at least one shim between said at least one conduit segment and the cover, said at least one shim being received in said at least one channel, for locating the cover substantially at a predetermined position therefor.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention is related to conduit assemblies for supporting covers for maintenance structures.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Maintenance structures, such as manhole structures or storm sewer basins, are typically included in modern streets. For each maintenance structure, a cover is required, usually in the form of a removable lid or grating mounted in a frame. However, the cover is required to be located at a predetermined position. This is necessary in order to position the cover properly relative to a street or road surface surrounding it. Typically, the surrounding road surface is an asphalt surface which is the top of a final coat of asphalt, but the cover may also be positioned in (or partially in) a curb or sidewalk. For example, a manhole cover is typically positioned so that a top surface of the lid portion is substantially flush with the surrounding road surface.

In practice, locating a maintenance structure so that the cover therefor is at the predetermined position is difficult, because maintenance structures are relatively large, and making adjustments in the position of a typical maintenance structure to the accuracy required in positioning the cover is very difficult. In the prior art, where the maintenance structure is lower than it should be in accordance with a plan, the mispositioning of the maintenance structure is usually addressed by using one or more risers, interposed between the maintenance structure and the cover, to support the cover at the desired elevation. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,121,390 (Hall et al.) discloses the use of precast concrete units positioned on the maintenance structure to support the cover. Also, U.S. Pat. No. 6,169,760 (Sinclair) discloses an adjustment riser molded to include ribs (in top surfaces) and corresponding grooves (in lower surfaces). However, the prior art risers do not include an apparatus to facilitate height adjustments which are less than a single riser's thickness.

Therefore, there is a need for a conduit assembly which will permit finer adjustment of the position of the cover relative to the maintenance structure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In its broad aspect, the invention provides a conduit assembly for supporting a cover of a maintenance structure with a passage therein. The conduit assembly includes one or more conduit segments. Each conduit segment has at least one aperture, and also includes top and bottom surfaces adapted to be positioned adjacent to bottom and top surfaces respectively of other conduit segments to form a conduit structure having a conduit passage therein alignable with the passage. The conduit structure has an inner wall surface defining the conduit passage and an opposed outer wall surface adapted to receive a coating of mortar. The conduit assembly also includes one or more shims for positioning on the top surface of the conduit segment, for locating the cover substantially at a predetermined position therefor.

In another aspect, the invention provides two or more cavities in the bottom surface of each conduit segment for facilitating movement of each conduit segment.

In yet another of its aspects, the top surface of each conduit segment includes one or more channels in which the shims are receivable, for maintaining each shim in a preselected position relative to the top surface.

In yet another aspect, the conduit assembly is made of high-density polyethylene.

In another aspect, one or more conduit segments includes a body with a main portion and one or more detachable portions adapted for removal from the main portion. Removal of a detachable portion results in an opening in the conduit structure extending between the outer wall surface and the inner wall surface of the conduit structure. The conduit assembly also includes one or more pipe segments, each having an inner end and an outer end. The inner end is receivable in the opening in the conduit structure, and the outer end is positionable a predetermined distance outside the conduit structure to provide for drainage through the pipe segment into the conduit passage.

In yet another aspect, the invention provides one or more ladder rungs positioned for location in the conduit passage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood with reference to the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1A is a side view of a preferred embodiment of a conduit assembly of the invention including one or more shims, the conduit assembly being positioned on a maintenance structure and supporting a cover for the maintenance structure;

FIG. 1B is a top view of the conduit assembly of FIG. 1A positioned on the maintenance structure, and the cover located on the conduit assembly;

FIG. 1C is a cross-section of the conduit assembly of FIGS. 1A and 1B, drawn along line 1C-1C in FIG. 1B;

FIG. 2A is a top view of a preferred embodiment of a conduit segment of the invention with shims positioned thereon;

FIG. 2B is a top view of an alternative embodiment of a conduit segment of the invention having channels on the top surface and shims positioned therein;

FIG. 3 is a cross-section of the conduit segment and shims of FIG. 1B taken along line 3-3 in FIG. 2B;

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of a preferred embodiment of the conduit segment;

FIG. 5 is a cross-section taken along line 5-5 in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a cross-section of two adjacent conduit segments of the conduit assembly of FIGS. 1A-1C, showing the manner in which the conduit segments cooperate with each other;

FIG. 6A is a side view of an alternative embodiment of a conduit assembly of the invention, positioned on a maintenance structure and supporting a cover for the maintenance structure;

FIG. 6B is a cross-section of the conduit assembly, maintenance structure, and cover of FIG. 6A;

FIG. 7 is a top view of another alternative embodiment of the conduit segment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a cross-section taken along line 8-8 in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a top view of another alternative embodiment of the conduit segment of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a cross-section taken along line 10-10 in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a bottom view of the conduit segment of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a cross-section taken along line 12-12 in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13A is a side view of another alternative embodiment of the conduit assembly of the invention interposed between a maintenance structure and a cover therefor;

FIG. 13B is a bottom view of a conduit segment in the conduit assembly of FIG. 13A, the conduit segment having a detachable portion;

FIG. 13C is a top view of the conduit segment of FIG. 13B;

FIG. 13D is a cross-section of the conduit segment of FIGS. 13B and 13C taken along line 13D-13D in FIG. 13C;

FIG. 14 is a top view of the maintenance structure, conduit assembly and cover of FIG. 13A;

FIG. 15 is a cross-section taken along line 15-15 in FIG. 14; and

FIG. 16 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of a conduit segment of the invention with detachable portions.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

Reference is first made to FIGS. 1A-1C, 2A, 2B, 3, and 4 to describe a preferred embodiment of a conduit assembly in accordance with the invention indicated generally by the numeral 20. The conduit assembly 20 is for supporting a cover 22 of a maintenance structure 24 with a passage 26 therein. As can be seen in FIGS. 1A and 1C, the conduit assembly 20 includes one or more conduit segments 28, each of which has an aperture 30 (FIG. 2A), as will be described. Each conduit segment 28 has a top surface 32 (FIG. 2A) which is adapted to be positioned facing upwardly, and a bottom surface 34 (FIG. 4) positioned opposite to the top surface 32 and adapted to be positioned facing downwardly. The top surface 32 and the bottom surface 34 are adapted to cooperate with bottom and top surfaces respectively of adjacent conduit segments so that adjacent conduit segments are maintained in position relative to each other to form a conduit structure 36 having a conduit passage 38 therein, as will be described. As can be seen in FIG. 1C, the conduit passage 38 is alignable with the passage 26. The conduit structure 36 has an inner wall surface 40 and an opposed outer wall surface 42 which is adapted to receive a coating of mortar (not shown). Also, the preferred embodiment of the conduit assembly 20 includes one or more shims 44 to be positioned on the top surface 32 of the conduit segment 28, for locating the cover 22 substantially at a predetermined position therefor.

In the preferred embodiment, each conduit segment 28 includes two or more cavities 46 in the bottom surface 34 thereof (FIGS. 4-5). The cavities 46 facilitate movement of the conduit segment 28, as will be described. Each conduit segment 28 includes an interior wall 45 defining the aperture 30 and an exterior wall 47 defining the outer edge of the conduit segment 28. The interior walls 45 of the conduit segments 28 which are included in the conduit structure 36 collectively form the inner wall surface 40 of the conduit structure to define the conduit passage 38. Also, the exterior walls 47 of the conduit segments in the conduit structure 36 collectively form the outer wall surface 42 of the conduit structure 36.

Also, the top surface 32 of each conduit segment 28 preferably includes one or more channels 48 (FIGS. 2B-3) in which shims 44 are receivable. The channel 48 serves to help maintain the shim 44 in a preselected position relative to the top surface 32. In the absence of the channels 48, the shims may tend to move on the top surface 32 during installation of the shims 44, as will be described.

The conduit segments 28 and the shims 44 can be made of any suitable material. Preferably, the conduit segments 28 and the shims 44 are made of a relatively tough, light-weight plastic, so that they are tough and durable, and relatively easy to handle. In the preferred embodiment, the conduit segments 28 and the shims 44 are made of high-density polyethylene.

Preferably, the conduit segments 28 are produced with various thicknesses. For example, each conduit segment 28 can have a thickness of about 12 mm. (0.47 in.), 25 mm. (0.98 in.), or 50 mm. (1.97 in.). Also, the width and other dimensions of the conduit segments can vary as required. In a conduit assembly, conduit segments having different thicknesses may be used as required. Also, conduit segments having greater thickness can be used for specific applications, as will be described.

As can be seen in FIGS. 2A, 2B and 4, the top surface 32 preferably includes a mating portion 50 with a series of alternating peaks 52 and valleys 54. The bottom surface 34 also includes a mating portion 56 with alternating peaks 58 and valleys 60. The mating portions 50 and 56 are positioned relative to each other so that the mating portion 56 on the bottom surface 34 of a first conduit segment cooperates with the mating portion 50 on the top surface 32 of a second conduit segment which is positioned immediately below the first conduit segment. The mating portions 50, 56 cooperate with each other because the peaks 52 fit into the valleys 60 and the peaks 58 fit into the valleys 54 (FIG. 6). It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that a variety of cooperating means could be used. In the preferred embodiment, a “sawtooth” design (FIG. 6) is used in which the peaks and valleys are relatively sharply defined. Preferably, the distance from a peak to an adjacent valley is between approximately 3 mm. (0.12 in.) to approximately 4 mm. (0.16 in.). This design is advantageous due to simplicity of manufacturing.

In use, after the maintenance structure 24 is put in position, one or more conduit segments 28 is positioned on the maintenance structure 24. The apertures 30 in the conduit segments 28 are aligned with the passage 26 in the maintenance structure 24 as the conduit segments 28 are put in place. The first conduit segment 28 to be emplaced is positioned directly on the maintenance structure 24, with the bottom surface 34 of the conduit segment 28 engaging the maintenance structure 24. In some circumstances, only one conduit segment 28 may be sufficient, depending on the predetermined position of the cover 22 relative to the actual position of the maintenance structure 24, and the actual position of the cover 22, if it is placed directly on the maintenance structure 24. If any additional conduit segments 28 are needed, they are put in position by first aligning the bottom surface 34 of the next conduit segment 28 to be added to the stack with the top surface 32 of the next adjacent (and lower) conduit segment 28 so that the bottom surface 34 of the higher conduit segment 28 cooperates with the top surface 32 of the lower conduit segment 28 to form a relatively stable conduit structure 36. Once sufficient conduit segments 28 are in position, the cover 22 is emplaced on top of the conduit structure 36, to determine the extent to which the cover 22 is or is not (as the case may be) located in the predetermined position therefor. The cover 22 is placed directly on the top surface 32 of the topmost conduit segment 28 in the conduit structure 36. Shims 44 are preferably interposed between the top surface 32 of the topmost conduit segment 28 and the cover 22, as required in order to locate the cover 22 in the predetermined position therefor.

Preferably, the conduit segments 28 are put in place by way of manual labour, in which the cavities 46 on the bottom surfaces 34 of the conduit segments 28 are utilized, in order to ensure that fingers of workers are not crushed between adjacent conduit segments 28 as the conduit structure 36 is erected.

It will be understood that, as is known in the art, mortar is to be placed on the outer wall surface 42 after the conduit assembly 20 is constructed and the cover 22 has been positioned thereon. Any gaps between the top of the topmost conduit segment 28, on the one hand, and the bottom of the lowest conduit segment 28 and the maintenance structure 24, on the other hand, are to be filled in with mortar, applied from outside the conduit assembly 20. In this way, the conduit passage 38 will be made substantially watertight.

In the preferred embodiment, the top surfaces 32 of the conduit segments 28 include channels 48 in which the shims 44 are receivable. The shims 44 can then be pushed into the channels 48 on the top surface 32 of the topmost conduit segment 28 when the shims 44 are interposed between the topmost conduit segment 28 and the cover 22. The channels 48 serve to maintain the shims 44 in position. Preferably, the shims 44 are provided in a variety of preselected sizes and shapes, so that a shim 44 having the appropriate size can be selected to be interposed.

In the preferred embodiment, and as shown in FIG. 2B, the channels 48 do not extend through to the interior wall 45 of the conduit segment 28. The inner wall surface 40, which is formed by the interior walls 45 of the conduit segments 28 in the conduit structure 36, is preferably substantially smooth and generally watertight. As noted above, the exterior of the conduit structure 36 also preferably is to be coated with mortar to assist in preventing groundwater from entering into the conduit passage 38.

Additional embodiments of the invention are shown in FIGS. 6A, 6B, and 7-16. In FIGS. 6A, 5B, and 7-16, elements are numbered so as to correspond to like elements shown in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 3, 4, and 5.

An alternative embodiment of a conduit assembly 120 is shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B positioned on the maintenance structure 24 and supporting the cover 22. In the conduit assembly 120, conduit segments 28 form the conduit structure 36. No shims are included in the conduit assembly, however.

Another alternative embodiment of a conduit segment 228 is shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. The conduit segment 228 includes a ladder rung 262 having a body 264 with arms 266, 268 extending from the body 264, each extending in substantially the same direction. The arms 266, 268 are mounted into the interior wall 245 of the conduit segment 228, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. Preferably, the conduit segments 228 are spaced apart from each other by conduit segments 28 which do not have the ladder rungs mounted therein, as a conduit structure is constructed of the conduit segments 228 and shims, as needed. The ladder rungs 262 are thus spaced apart vertically so that they can be conveniently used by a worker (not shown) as a means of ingress and egress to the passage 26 in the maintenance structure 24.

Preferably, the conduit segment 228 has sufficient thickness that the ladder rung 262, when supporting a load (not shown), can itself be supported by the conduit segment 228. In practice, it has been found that the conduit segment 228 should preferably have a thickness of about 75 mm. (2.95 in.) or more, to ensure that the conduit segment 228 can support the weight of a man on the rung 262.

Another alternative embodiment of the conduit segment 328 is shown in FIGS. 9-12. As can be seen in FIGS. 9 and 11, an aperture 330 in the conduit segment 328 is substantially square. The conduit segment 328 is made up of four body portions 329 which are joined to each other at right angles to form a square. As can be seen in FIG. 9, a top surface 332 includes mating portions 350 separated by channels 348. FIG. 11 shows a bottom surface 334 which includes mating portions 356. Preferably, cavities 346 are positioned in substantially the middle of each body portion 329.

As can be seen in FIGS. 9 and 10, shims 344 are positioned in the channels 348. Preferably, the shims 344 are positioned in the topmost conduit segment 328 in a conduit structure, as required.

Another alternative embodiment of a conduit assembly 420 is shown in FIGS. 13A-16. The conduit assembly 420 includes one or more conduit segments 427. As can be seen in FIGS. 13A and 15, the conduit assembly 420 can also include one or more conduit segments 428. Preferably, the conduit segment 428 is one of the standard sizes (e.g., 12 mm. (0.47 in.), 25 mm. (0.98 in.), or 50 mm. (1.97 in.) thickness.) In FIGS. 13A and 15, the conduit segment 427 is shown positioned on the maintenance structure 24, and the conduit segment 428 is positioned on top of the conduit segment 427. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the conduit segment 427 need not be positioned directly on top of the maintenance structure 24. The relative positioning of the conduit segments 428 and the conduit segment 427 is determined based on convenience. Also, any number of conduit segments 428 can be used with any number of conduit segments 427, as required.

Each conduit segment 427 includes a body 471 and a main portion 472 of the body 471. Each conduit segment 427 includes one or more detachable portions 474 adapted for removal from the main portion 472. Removal of the detachable portion 474 from the main portion 472 creates an opening 476 between an interior wall 445 of the conduit segment 427 and an exterior wall 447 located opposite the inner wall surface 445. The opening 476 is adapted for receiving at least part of a pipe segment 478. Although slots for receiving shims are not shown in FIG. 13C, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the conduit segment 427 could include such slots.

As can be seen in FIG. 15, a top surface 484 of the cover 22 is positioned at a final design grade, i.e., level with a surface 486 of a final layer 487 of asphalt (or other finishing material) which is to be laid down. However, a first lift 488 of asphalt (or other finishing material) is usually laid down shortly after installation of the maintenance structure 24, the conduit assembly 420, and the cover 22. The first lift 488 has a surface 489 generally positioned substantially below the final design surface 486 (FIG. 15). As is known in the art, the asphalt is usually laid down in two (or more) lifts, approximately one year (or more) apart, in order to allow the street material (and the maintenance structure) 24 to subside, or settle, before the final lift of asphalt 487 is laid down. However, because the cover 22 is positioned according to the design of the completed road, the surface 484 of the cover 22 is at the elevation of the surface 486 of the second lift of asphalt 487. Therefore, and as shown in FIG. 15, until the second lift of asphalt 487 is laid down, water runoff on the surface 489 of the surrounding asphalt 488 will not drain into the cover 22.

Accordingly, the pipe segment 478 is required to provide for drainage of water on the surface 489 into the maintenance structure 24, until the subsequent asphalt layer(s) result in the surface 486 at the final design elevation. When the second lift of asphalt is to be laid down, the pipe segment 478 is filled (usually with cement), and then covered by the second lift.

Preferably, the conduit segment 427 is approximately 75 mm. (2.95 in.) thick. This thickness permits the detachable portion 474 to have a diameter sufficiently large to receive a 2¼″ pipe, or in any event a pipe large enough to drain water from the surface 489 reasonably quickly.

As can be seen in FIG. 15, as the pipe segment 478 is put into position, an upper end 480 is spaced laterally apart from the cover 22. Also, a lower end 482 is positioned in communication with a conduit passage 438 in a conduit structure 436 formed by the stacked conduit segments 427, 428. Although the pipe segment 478 is shown as having a 90° elbow, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the pipe segment 478 could have a variety of configurations.

The conduit structure 436 defines the conduit passage 438 which is substantially square in plan view. However, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the conduit segments including detachable portions can be provided in a variety of forms. For example, a conduit segment 527 is shown in FIG. 16 which is substantially round in plan view. The conduit segment 527 includes detachable portions 574, similar to detachable portions 474 in the conduit segment 427.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention can take many forms, and that such forms are within the scope of the invention as claimed. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the descriptions of the preferred versions contained herein.





 
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