Kahekili Highway lights are finally coming on
I was wondering about the brand-new street lights on Kahekili Highway that were never used. They've been there for a couple of years, and I really hope no one stole the wiring for them.
Answer: There should be light there now, although work is ongoing.
Back in March, when we last addressed the subject, the lights were targeted to be up and shining by May.
The contractor is in the process of removing all the old hardware and wood poles and was halfway done, said Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, last week.
However, existing lighting on the first five wood poles at Haiku Road still needs to be replaced with new mast arms, luminaries and wires, he said.
"The highway lighting will not be compromised as the new lights on the makai side are on," he said. The lighting work is now targeted for completion by the end of this month.
The project has been delayed considerably because the location originally proposed for new aluminum poles would have been too close to sewer lines. That required a redesign.
On top of that, the Transportation Department could not activate what had been installed already because power requirements between the new and existing lighting systems were not compatible.
Meanwhile, a chain-link fence is scheduled to be installed between Hui Iwa West and Hui Iwa East the week of Aug. 14, and work to improve the guardrail will start around Sept. 4, finishing at the end of November.
Q: I was just wondering why the Wahiawa-bound lights on the H-2 freeway from around Ka Uka Boulevard to Kipapa Gulch have been inoperable. I've never seen them on since I moved to Mililani more than three years ago.
A: It hasn't been that long since the lights were last on, but they apparently won't be coming back on any time soon.
The latest blackout, as the Star-Bulletin reported on May 13, was caused in April when thieves stole copper wiring from about 50 lights near the H-1/H-2 merge, and near the Ka Uka Boulevard exit on the Mililani-bound side of the H-2.
Copper has become a hot commodity because of soaring prices and demand, and thieves were targeting streetlight wiring and rain gutters.
The state Department of Transportation had repaired the wiring to inoperable H-2 lights and "had them up and running" in October, said spokesman Scott Ishikawa.
But in December thieves stripped the copper wiring that powers the lights along the H-2. It cost $50,000 to install new wiring and repair damaged light fixtures.
It will cost probably another $50,000 to repair the most recently stripped fixtures, Ishikawa said.
At this point, "we are holding off on repairs while we study ways to secure the lighting wiring," he said. "The dilemma of creating a Fort Knox situation is, you need to keep the wiring and lighting fixtures accessible in the event of emergency repairs."
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