Road project turns out more complex than expected
Our neighborhood is puzzled by a street resurfacing project going on for weeks in the 1400 block of Alewa Drive. The road was not particularly in bad condition. The work appears to be primarily digging up the surface on one side, laying down new asphalt without leveling the road, and digging it up again to repeat the process. A large crew, heavy equipment and police for traffic control are involved. This project appears to be taking way too long to complete. At worst, it looks like taxpayers are not getting their money's worth. Work higher up on Alewa Drive was begun earlier, then stopped. What's going on?
Answer: The delay is the result of a common problem -- the exact condition of the roadway wasn't known until crews started digging through years of built-up pavement, the city says.
The "total reconstruction" of Alewa Drive from Wyllie Street to Hoomaikai Street includes removing existing asphalt concrete pavement and underlying concrete; reconstructing a new roadway; reconstructing berms and gutters, if necessary; adjusting utility manhole frames and covers; and installing pavement markings.
The $4.7 million project is "anticipated" for completion later this year, said Eugene Lee, director, Department of Design and Construction.
He explained that Alewa Drive was built decades ago and overlaid with asphalt concrete (a composite material, more commonly referred to simply as "asphalt") to maintain a smooth surface. Over the years, the substrate deteriorated and cracks appeared.
Because of the built-up layers of asphalt, Lee said, the composition of the underlying roadway, as well as the existence and condition of covered-over gutters, weren't known until exposed by the contractor, Jas. T. Glover.
"The wide range of materials and conditions that has been encountered is presenting a construction challenge," slowing initial work, Lee said. The work is expected to "speed up."
Because of the limited access to the area, the contractor is not allowed to close the entire roadway and also is restricted to working on half the roadway at a time, contraflowing traffic in the adjacent lane.
Regarding your specific complaints:
» Lee said extensive traffic control and a special duty police officer are required for safety reasons because of the narrow road and because overhead utility lines leave minimal clearances for equipment.
» On the 1400 block, work involves removing the pavement surfaces, then putting back an asphalt concrete base at the end of the day. A 20-foot area had to be redone because of a water lateral break.
» The contractor initially started work at the upper end of the project, but because of an equipment malfunction and the projected repair time, he opted to continue work later.
"Hopefully, in the end, the residents will appreciate their new road, though I acknowledge that they are being temporarily inconvenienced," Lee said.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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