Hannemann administration not neglecting road repairs


POSTED: Monday, October 26, 2009

As we move closer to breaking ground on Honolulu's rail transit project, we're also continuing to aggressively repair and improve long-neglected roads and other vital infrastructure. For example, crews will begin rehabilitating a major section of Ala Wai Boulevard, from Kanekapolei Street to Kalakaua Avenue, very soon.

In fact, road work worth nearly $150 million is scheduled islandwide over the next 18 months—approximately 250 lane miles in areas such as Kailua, Waipahu, Wahiawa, Aiea, Pearl City, Nuuanu, Kaimuki, downtown, Diamond Head, Kapahulu, Makiki, Manoa and Kahala.

An additional $675 million in sewer system repairs and upgrades is planned over the next two years, and work on a $45 million sewer replacement project in Waimalu is already underway. This is just one of more than 100 ongoing projects to improve Oahu's wastewater treatment plants, pump stations and sewage collection system.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann convened a special Road Work Symposium at the Neal Blaisdell Center on Sept. 29, bringing public officials together with hundreds of contractors, consultants, suppliers and other industry professionals. This effort helped improve communications, anticipate and remedy potential obstacles, and familiarize everyone with the city's expectations for quality and efficiency.

Teamwork and thoughtful planning are the keys to prudently expediting public works projects, and that's what this symposium was all about. At the symposium, the mayor explained that one of the administration's top priorities is to improve Oahu's infrastructure.

“;Our streets and roads, in particular, link our island community and support our economy, and we are committed to ensuring that they continue to provide a safe and efficient foundation for our transportation network,”; he said.

This administration understands its responsibility to make sure it leaves the island's infrastructure in better condition than it inherited. We also know it is vital to invest in our community during times of economic hardship, to boost employment and keep dollars circulating while making improvements that benefit everyone.

The Waimalu sewer replacement project mentioned above has received $7.4 million through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and is the first major public works project in Hawaii to put federal stimulus funds to use. The project will include replacement of 5,820 linear feet of defective sewer lines, most of them more than 50 years old and damaged or threatened by soil settlement. Another 630 feet of new lines will also be added.

Honolulu is slated to receive a total of $94 million in federal stimulus funds, and we're ready to expedite a wide range of infrastructure initiatives ranging from public transportation upgrades to energy conservation projects.

We'll continue to work closely with the private sector and other branches of government to ensure close collaboration, efficiency, and results we can all be proud of. Our goal is to not only get the job done, but to get the job done right.

Sharon Ann Thom is deputy director of Honolulu's Department of Transportation Services.