Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Fort Weaver Road
work starts in spring

Question: When I lived and worked in town, I had a 10-minute commute to work. In 2000, I moved to Ewa Beach, and the change was unbelievable. Traffic is so bad, it has taken me up to two hours to get to my office. The main bottleneck is Fort Weaver Road. I have written to our state representative and senator about the proposed widening of Fort Weaver Road and was assured that millions were "in the pipeline." But they couldn't tell me when work would commence, much less when it would be completed. What is their timetable? Are we thousands of Ewa/Kapolei residents supposed to spend up to three-plus hours a day just getting to work?

Answer: Phase 1 of the project to widen Fort Weaver Road from four to six lanes is targeted to begin in late spring and last 12 months. Phase 2 is scheduled to start at the end of this year and take two years to complete.

There will be an overlap because "the community asked if we could shorten the entire project as much as possible," said Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

Ishikawa agrees that "Fort Weaver Road is one of the worst bottlenecks on the island," citing U.S. Census figures showing the Ewa Beach/Ewa by Gentry subdivision growing by about 12,000 people from 1990 to 2000.

Bids for Phase 1 came back last month, and officials were verifying the numbers before awarding the contract. Albert C. Kobayashi Inc. submitted the low bid of $6 million to widen Fort Weaver from Farrington Highway to Laulaunui Street.

The second phase -- widening Fort Weaver from Laulaunui to Geiger Road -- is projected to cost $18 million.

"There will be some low-noise-level work done in the evenings, as well as construction on the weekends to help speed up the project," Ishikawa said.

The Transportation Department hopes that widening Fort Weaver Road will indirectly help residents in Kapolei.

"Because of the bottleneck along Fort Weaver, many drivers are using Kalaeloa as a backdoor route onto the H-1 (freeway)," Ishikawa said.

Q: About two years ago, I called the city sidewalk complaint department to report a dangerous sidewalk condition on Hoohai Street in Pearl City. The sidewalk had lifted 2 to 3 inches in two areas. After about three calls, a work crew came out and placed a temporary patch on the affected areas. A supervisor stated that a permanent remedy would be made soon. Shortly thereafter, I reported that the patches had broken into many pieces. I was reassured that a permanent fix was or had been scheduled. After two years nothing has been done. I am extremely concerned about the dangerous sidewalk condition. Can you help?

A: You should be noticing work by now or very soon.

Another temporary patch was supposed to be done this week, said Carol Costa, director of the city Department of Customer Services.

A repair of the sidewalk is scheduled for late April, although the cement strike may delay it "for another month or so," she said. "The Department of Facility Maintenance has been working on sidewalk repair from Mililani to Pearl City since October of last year."


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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