DOT works on to-do list of rock hazards
What ever happened to the state Department of Transportation's plans to improve safety at the "Top Ten Rockfall Hazard" locations on Oahu's state highways?
Answer: Now that the former cliff over Kalanianaole Highway at Castle Junction has been shaved to a safer 25-degree slope (at a cost of $7.8 million), the department is working its way down the list of priority spots, which it established in 2003 after a geological study, said spokesman Scott Ishikawa.
For the fiscal year that ends June 30, the state has budgeted about $10 million for mitigation of various rock fall hazards statewide.
According to Ishikawa, this is what is planned for Oahu and the site's rank on the original Top 10 list:
» No. 1 -- Kalanianaole Highway near Makapuu: Spurred by a 2002 rockslide onto Kalanianaole Highway, the state removed some rock and then installed a wire "hairnet" on the steep, upper slopes of Makapuu in 2003. Now, the department is designing a fix for the less severe, lower area near Sea Life Park. The second project is under design and tentatively scheduled to begin construction in June. The cost and work schedule have not been determined.
» No. 2 -- Kamehameha Highway, on the Haleiwa side of Waimea Bay Beach Park: Unlike the rockslide on the Sunset Beach side of Waimea Bay park, which was fixed in 2000 at a cost of $4 million, the Haleiwa side does not have a convenient area for a detour route. Up to $1 million is available for design of this project, including the issue of how to get traffic around it during construction.
» No. 6 -- Kamehameha Highway near Kipapa Gulch Bridge: The department is planning to widen Kamehameha Highway in Kipapa Gulch (between Waipio-Gentry and Mililani) to four lanes. The idea is not only to deal with the constant rocks that fall from the carved hillside, but to widen that portion of the highway to relieve traffic congestion and help prevent head-on collisions by putting in a median barrier. Project planning has been budgeted for $1.5 million. Cost could be $55 million.
Ishikawa said the list is not being taken from 1 to 10 because there are staging concerns. For example, the sheer cliffs along Kalanianaole Highway (priorities No. 4 and 8) on the way to Kailua from Castle Junction, do not have enough room to bring in a dump truck behind barriers, as was done for the Castle Junction project.
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