Potholes to dot roads a while longer
State officials say they cannot properly patch up streets until the ground dries out
Clearer skies could mean relief from ubiquitous potholes sprouting on Oahu's major roadways in the past few weeks.
State pothole crews are hoping they can do some work this week, but until the weather clears up, they are asking motorists to be patient.
They are going to have to be patient a little longer. Cloudy and wet weather is expected to continue through the week, the National Weather Service says.
"When you patch potholes in wet weather, you might as well be patching with oatmeal," said Scott Ishikawa, state Transportation Department spokesman. "We have to wait until the ground dries up."
Mary Chuckovich of Waialua says she is definitely seeing more potholes proliferating on H-1 and H-2 since the rains started, and has had to be more on the lookout.
"Drive slower and be more careful," she says of her driving lately.
But she agrees with state officials that the potholes cannot be fixed properly with the wet weather the state has been hit with lately.
Rita O'Neill of Waikiki works at Restaurant Row and takes the back roads of Kakaako to get home.
But the back roads and even Ala Moana are flooded in areas so that you cannot see the potholes until you are actually in them, she said. Near the Ala Wai where she lives, massive potholes await unsuspecting motorists and road crews to fill them in.
She too has had to drive slower and much more defensively to avoid getting into an accident.
"It's horrible. We just have to put up with it," she said.
Pothole complaints are actually down to 10 to 15 per day on rainy days, compared with 50 to 60 complaints when it is dry, Ishikawa said.
That is because since 2004 the state embarked on an ambitious repaving project -- not just patching -- and completed several areas known for pesky potholes, he said.
"We'll patch potholes when we have to, but we feel repaving is a long-term fix," Ishikawa said.
Among the projects completed were a 5-mile stretch of Moanalua Freeway, Nimitz Highway from the Honolulu Airport viaduct to downtown Honolulu, Kalanianaole Highway from Castle Junction to Castle Medical Center, and Likelike Highway on the Kalihi side of the Wilson Tunnel.
When the rains hit several weeks ago, paving projects that were put on the shelf until the skies clear up included an 8-mile stretch of Kamehameha Highway between Waiahole and the Crouching Lion Inn -- one of the areas worst hit with rain and flooding on the Windward side, Ishikawa said.
Another area that was being repaved was Kamehameha Highway from Castle Junction to the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery.
Crews had been repaving an area on Pali Highway near Waokanaka in the last few weeks and returned Friday but still need a few more days to complete the project, he said.
Next month, crews hope to start work on a 3-mile stretch of Farrington Highway in both directions through Waipahu that is expected to take about six months, Ishikawa said.
And later this year, the Honolulu Airport viaduct in both directions should be getting some attention with crews using fast-setting concrete to fix the holes.
The last big project the state expects to tackle this year should be Ala Moana, from downtown Honolulu to Kalakaua Avenue, Ishikawa said.