CRAIG KOJIMA / PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
A car, above, finds a pothole at Kahaloa and Woodlawn drives.
Roads take high toll on cars
A national report rates Honolulu roads third among urban regions for the bumpiest ride
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More than half of freeways and major roads in Honolulu are in poor shape, ranking the city third among metropolitan areas with the bumpiest rides, says a national report released yesterday.
Hit a pothole?
To file a claim for damage:
State: 831-6714 (also to report potholes)
City: 523-4115. To report a pothole to the city, call 768-7777 or visit www.driveakamai.org.
Bad pavement, found in 62 percent of roads in Honolulu, costs every isle driver an additional $760 in vehicle maintenance each year, according to a study by TRIP, a national transportation research group. That includes everything from tire repairs and gas costs to how long a vehicle lasts.
While some Honolulu roads still need a lot of work, complaints made to the state by drivers who hit potholes have been decreasing since 2004, according to state Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa.
"Gradually, we have been getting there. Our work isn't done," he said. "We have made some headway."
A Honolulu spokesman noted that the report was compiled with 2006 data, and said the city has aggressively tackled road repairs in the past two years.
Only Los Angeles and the San Francisco-Oakland area in California had roads in worse condition than Honolulu, the report found, noting motorists there paid an extra $778 and $761 respectively to keep their vehicles running through potholes, cracks and bumps.
The smoothest rides are in Atlanta, where 89 percent of roads were labeled "good," it said.
Honolulu ranks third nationally among urban areas with the worst road conditions, says a report. Here are the top five places with the bumpiest drives, followed by the condition of the pavement, and how much motorists pay on average in additional vehicle maintenance each year.
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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Roadwork was under way yesterday along University Avenue between South King and Date streets.
At the back of David Silva's car accessory shop, the toll taken by Honolulu's rough roads is as clear as the sleek rims sparkling in his street-side showroom.
About a dozen tires, some punctured as many as six times, wait to be fixed after slamming potholes.
"This is a $2,500 wheel that was murdered by a pothole right there, and we have another murdering in the back," Silva, owner of Revolution Motorsports on Ward Avenue, said as he pointed to dents on a rim that will cost $1,600 to replace. "This is a $2,000 wheel that was mutilated, and we got it almost completely straightened. And this is going to be about a $500 repair."
Bad roads are estimated to cost Oahu motorists an extra $760 a year in vehicle maintenance, according to a national report released yesterday. Honolulu ranked third among major urban regions with the bumpiest rides, according to the report.
About three in five Honolulu roads, or 62 percent, are in poor shape, up from 22 percent in 2006, according to a study by TRIP (the Road Information Program), a national transportation research group.
It analyzed Federal Highway Administration data for 2006 and cited increased traffic as the top cause for deteriorating roads -- a problem affecting 23 percent of the country's main metropolitan areas at a cost of $413 annually for the average urban motorist.
Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, acknowledged that road resurfacing and pothole repairs in Honolulu are far from over, but he said complaints from drivers to a state pothole hot line have dropped to 10 per day from a peak of about 50 in 2004.
Ishikawa suspects the study might have missed a repaving of Nimitz Highway completed in 2006.
"That may have been the culprit. That was desperately needed," he said.
The state has spent about $120 million to repave Oahu roads since the summer of 2004, Ishikawa said, and it uses about $200,000 each year for quick fixes like potholes.
"I think the more we can repave, the less potholes people are going to have to worry about," Ishikawa said. "That has kind of been our philosophy in the last four years. You know, there's nothing like a smooth road."
The city is spending $49.7 million to rehabilitate roads in the current fiscal year, and Mayor Mufi Hannemann has proposed raising that budget to $77 million for the 2008-09 fiscal year and adding another $3.4 million for more road improvements, said Eugene Lee, director of the Department of Design and Construction.
"We are doing quite a bit of work," Lee said. "The situation with the roads ... didn't happen overnight, and we are not going to be able to fix it overnight, but certainly we are making great progress."
City spokesman Bill Brennan said aggressive road repairs in the past two years, including the filling of more than 80,000 potholes last year alone and an additional 7,000 in January, should improve Honolulu's ranking in a future TRIP report.
"Many of the roads in Honolulu are state roads, and we are happy to see the state also stepping up to the plate to maintain its share of highways," he said in an e-mail.