State needs to shed light on freeways
No repairs are in the works for lights along the H-1 and H-2 where thieves have stolen copper wires.
The state will leave drivers in the dark on sections of the H-1 and H-2 freeways where copper thieves have removed miles of the high-value wiring that carried power to streetlights.
During a hearing to confirm him as Gov. Linda Lingle's newest transportation director, nominee Brennon Morioka told state senators the lights were not scheduled for replacement.
Morioka said lights had been put in "as more of a convenience" and if the roads were being built today, illumination would not be installed. He also said the busy freeways are considered "rural corridors."
He offered no further explanation about the designation, but the tens of thousands of motorists who drive the H-1 between the Kunia interchange and Makakilo and the H-2 from Waiawa to Mililani would have grounds to dispute it, as did Sen. Will Espero, pointing out the heavy volume of traffic that flows through the area.
The Department of Transportation seems to be at a loss about how to replace the wiring and securing it from further theft. Some of the lights have been out since 2006, when thieves removed wire from 50 poles along the H-2, affecting about 75 fixtures. More recently, about 6 miles of wires were found missing from H-1 lights.
Whether because of the cost or the futility of replacement, it is apparent that the state has surrendered motorists' safety to the thieves. Before confirming Morioka's nomination, senators should demand a better explanation from the administration.
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