Monday, April 9, 2001

Completed in 1998, the bridge connecting Ford Island
with main-side Pearl Harbor is showing
cracks in its pillars.

Ford Island
bridge already
showing cracks

The Navy says traffic
is not at risk as teams
inspect the concrete

By Nelson Daranciang

The bridge connecting Ford Island with the rest of Pearl Harbor is barely three years old, but it is already showing signs of wear.

For the past four weeks, contractors have been inspecting all of the concrete pilings holding up the bridge after cracks were found in one of them.

"The cracks were discovered on Sept. 3 during an annual inspection," said Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell, Navy spokeswoman. The inspections began March 12. "They're assessing the concrete pylons on the surface and underwater with divers operating off a dive platform," Campbell said.

The cause of a crack depends on how it looks and where it is on the piling, said Wayne Kawano, Cement and Concrete Products Industry of Hawaii president. Kawano said since he is not involved in the project, he has not seen the pilings with cracks in them.

Campbell said if any repairs are necessary, they would involve pouring a concrete sleeve around the affected pilings. But she said this is not a safety issue, and traffic continues to flow on the bridge. She said the bridge is still under warranty, and the work is being done at no cost to the Navy by the joint venture that designed and built the bridge.

The design was the work of Parsons Brinckerhoff. Bill Chen, head of the Parsons structure department, referred all inquiries to Hawaiian Dredging and Construction Co. Dillingham-Manson joint venture did the construction. Hawaiian Dredging is a subsidiary of Dillingham Construction Pacific Ltd.

"It's not really under warranty," said Mel Miyamoto, Hawaiian Dredging vice president, "but there are some contracted maintenance, several years. This is the last year of the contract." Miyamoto referred further inquiries to the Navy.

During construction, Parsons Brinckerhoff hailed the 24-inch octagonal, prestressed concrete piles as the largest and highest load capacity pile manufactured in Hawaii. They were made by Hawaiian Bitumuls Paving and Precast Co., another subsidiary of Dillingham Construction.

Hawaiian Bitumuls manager Ray Nii said the company is aware of the situation involving the piles the company manufactured for the bridge. Company President Bill Paik said 350 to 400 piles were used for the bridge, and so far the number of them found to have cracks is a small percentage. However, he would not say how many piles have cracks.

The underwater inspections are being done by Sea Engineering under contract with Dillingham-Manson. Vice President Pat Ross referred questions about the project to Hawaiian Dredging.

Construction of the mile-long, $78 million Clarey Ford Island Bridge began in January 1996. It was planned as the stimulus to a $500 million redevelopment of Ford Island.

The Navy opened the bridge, named after former Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Bernard "Chick" Clarey, in 1998.

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