Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Ford Island Bridge has cracks in four supporting pillars.
The dive boat Huki Pau, with two divers, was out checking
for cracks below the surface on April 1.

Cracked Ford Island
Bridge pilings
warrant repairs

By Nelson Daranciang

Navy engineers are referring to the cracks found in some of the pilings holding up the Ford Island Bridge as "latent defects in the construction," said Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell, Navy spokeswoman.

Campbell said surface and underwater inspections last month discovered four piles with cracks in them. Repair crews have completed installation of a concrete sleeve around one of the cracked piles and are preparing to reinforce the three others.

The one that has just been repaired and two of the other cracked piles support the same pier, while the fourth is in another part of the bridge, Campbell said.

Hawaiian Dredging and Construction Co. -- a subsidiary of bridge contractor Dillingham Construction Pacific Ltd. -- did the original work on the bridge. It is also doing the repairs for free under the terms of a maintenance contract with the Navy. Hawaiian Bitumuls Paving & Precast Co. -- another Dillingham subsidiary -- manufactured the piles. Hawaiian Bitumuls president Bill Paik said 350 to 400 piles were used in the construction of the bridge.

Navy officials maintain that the cracks do not pose a safety hazard, and traffic on the bridge is unaffected, even during the repairs. However, the Navy is planning to close the bridge twice later this month for unrelated, quarterly maintenance, Campbell said.

The Navy will close the bridge from 6-7 a.m. April 22 and from 6-7 p.m. April 24 for maintenance to the bridge's movable floating section.

A routine, annual inspection last September discovered a crack in one of the piles. Underwater inspections, which began March 12, revealed cracks in three more.

Construction of the mile-long, $78 million bridge began in 1996 and was completed two years later.

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