Scaffolding toil turns off lights at Aloha Tower
: I lived in Honolulu for 15 years. I now return every winter for two months and stay across the street from Aloha Tower. For the past two years, one or more lights have not been lighted on the tower clock when I have been here. For such an important symbol to the entry of Honolulu Harbor, how can this happen? Whoever owns the property should ensure that this is always in top condition. Is there anything that can be done about this?
Answer: The state Department of Transportation's Harbor Division is responsible for Aloha Tower, a landmark since it was completed in 1926.
Transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa said he couldn't really confirm or deny that one or more lights have been out for two years.
There are four clock faces on the tower, and each face has multiple lights. So, it's not inconceivable that a light might have been out during your visits here, he said.
But, "If we notice a light out or if it is reported to us, we usually (have) it replaced within a day," Ishikawa said.
Next time you notice a light out or have other harbor-related issues, call the Harbors Division's 24-hour hot line at 587-2076.
That said, lights have been shut off behind some of the clock faces to allow workers to install permanent scaffolding behind the clock faces. There is no timetable as to when those lights will be back on.
The scaffolding will allow maintenance crews to safely climb up whenever they need to replace lights, Ishikawa said.
"To install (the scaffolding) and remove it for each replacement of the lights would significantly increase the length of the outage," he said. "Because the scaffolding would be near the clock faces and create shadows behind, we are in the process of rearranging the lighting as well."
The Transportation Department is working to design and install a new lighting system that will eliminate the issues caused by the scaffolding. It anticipates installation to be completed by the end of the year.
In the meantime, temporary lighting, placed there during the Honolulu Marathon, will remain in place until the new lighting is installed, Ishikawa said.
The 10-story Aloha Tower was the tallest building in the state for years.
Visitors can take in the view of Honolulu Harbor from the tower's 10th-floor observation deck from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
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