Asphalt ready to fix roads
State road repair and resurfacing projects halted by the statewide asphalt shortage could resume as early as today.
Tesoro Hawaii, the state's only liquid-asphalt producer, received delivery of a shipment of asphalt-producing crude oil Thursday, said Nathan Hokama, company spokesman. Local companies that mix liquid asphalt with aggregate to make road asphalt started taking deliveries Sunday, he said.
The projects that could resume today include the resurfacing of Kamehameha Highway between Castle Junction and the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery and improvements to the stretch of the highway between Waiahole and Crouching Lion, said Scott Ishikawa, state Department of Transportation spokesman.
"We've got to test the quality of the asphalt first," Ishikawa said.
The state also will resume surface repairs along Kalanianaole Highway through Waimanalo and along Kamehameha Highway in Aiea near McGrew Point. And the state hopes to begin construction this week of a temporary median lane on Kailua Road between Kailua High School and Hamakua Drive.
The flow of liquid asphalt ends a drought that started when Tesoro, the state's only producer, depleted its supply last month.
"How long this will last, we're not sure. We know there is pent-up demand," Hokama said.
The amount of liquid asphalt Tesoro can make at a time is limited by its 25,000-barrel storage capacity. It plans to make two more batches from the current shipment of crude oil. The next shipment is due early next month.
Hokama said the company plans to take shipment of asphalt-producing crude oil every 45 days. It is also spending nearly $1 million to expand its storage capacity to 125,000 barrels.
Tesoro became the state's only liquid-asphalt producer when Chevron Hawaii, the state's other petroleum refiner, stopped producing in February.
The shortage halted state projects, city pothole repair and some military projects. It also put 160 employees of Grace Pacific Corp., one of the state's major producers of road asphalt, out of work.
Bob Wilkinson, company president and chief executive officer, said he does not believe the current supply will satisfy current demand, but will hire back as many of the asphalt workers as possible.
The state's other major producer of road asphalt is James W. Glover Ltd.