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Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Neglect takes toll
on Nimitz, H-1 medians


Question: I was driving on Nimitz Highway, under the H-1 freeway airport viaduct, recently and noticed weeds and grass all along the median, although, thankfully, nothing appears to be obstructing any of the traffic lanes. I suspect the landscaping between the Ewa and Koko Head lanes of the H-1 viaduct may also be just as bad. Why has the landscaping suffered so much? It's disheartening to think that this may be the first impression that out-of-town visitors have about our state.

Answer: Unfortunately, things have gone to weed because there hasn't been anyone to maintain the area for more than a couple of months.

The landscaping contractor for that stretch of Nimitz pulled out of his contract in February, said Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

The contract was for one year, with a two-year option. But the contractor "underestimated the scope of work involved and decided not to continue with the contract," he said.

"We're in the process of putting out a temporary work order to maintain the area until we can reach a more long-term agreement with another contractor," he said.

A long-term agreement requires the department to put out the work to bid again.

Ishikawa said the department also will have new landscaping/maintenance contractors provide a performance bond, which will force them "to take a more realistic look at their finances when they bid for the project."

Currently, there is "no real penalty" for pulling out of a contract, he said.

Auwe

>> While driving to work and usually on a daily basis, I notice more trash on the H-1 freeway, on the medial street going Ewa. Weeds are up to 3 feet tall, with a 5-foot-tall kiawe tree before the Middle Street cutoff. That's been like that for awhile. The medial drainage is clogged with debris and all sorts of trash -- dairy crates, cooler tops, tennis balls, cigarette boxes, tire remnants. The state highway division needs to do something to beautify the highways for the locals as well as the tourists. -- R.V.

>> The stretch of H-1 between downtown and Moanalua is beginning to look like a garden, with tall trees growing along the median and thick clumps of tall grasses choking out the drainage holes. The taller trees are particularly bothersome because at night they look like they could be people in the middle of the freeway. On a very rainy day, however, the drainage bouquets could prove to be much more bothersome. What can we do to put the clearing of that stretch of freeway higher on the Department of Transportation's list of projects to tackle? -- J.W.

We received these two "auwes" many weeks apart, which indicates the scope of the eyesore.

The state Department of Transportation has notified the landscaping contractor that it needs to maintain the area more often, Ishikawa said.

Complaints about road maintenance "are appreciated because it helps us track if the contractors are keeping up with their assignments," he said.

Call the highways hot line at 831-6714 to report such areas.


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