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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Wilson Tunnel may
be ugly, but it’s safe

Question: Is the Wilson Tunnel safe? In the 36 years I have lived on the Windward side, I have seen conditions of the Wilson Tunnel deteriorate to deplorable conditions. It is dark, ugly and dirty. I've been noticing that the Kaneohe entrance, Honolulu-bound, has been looking very, very bad. Maintenance has been very poor. My main concern is safety -- could there be cave-ins or landslides?

Answer: The tunnel is structurally safe, according to Marilyn Kali, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

The department took over tunnel maintenance from the city about a year ago and recently completed a maintenance assessment, she said. The assessment "identified projects to refurbish the tunnel," which will be programmed into future budgets.

The Transportation Department doesn't disagree that the tunnel is in need of a makeover.

"The 40-year-old tunnel does look dingy, especially if you compare it with the newer H-3 tunnel, which is bigger and brighter," Kali said.

But she points out that the interior of the Wilson Tunnel is painted, while the H-3 Tunnel is lined with tiles, which are easier to clean.

"The Wilson Tunnel will never look like H-3, but we hope to improve its present condition in the coming years," Kali said.

The tunnel is cleaned twice a year and the next scrubbing is due in late October.

Q: One morning, I was going Ewa on Moanalua Freeway, right before the Halawa Overpass. This was on the turn. Two state trucks were parked off to the left side and two people were putting out cones. But they started from their truck rather than starting below, before cars would hit the trucks. I had to stop suddenly and there was almost a major pileup. Cars were coming down in the center lane so I couldn't move over there. Can you tell them that they should start putting the cones out away from the truck, working back to the truck, not from the truck? Also, why were they blocking the left lane, when the trucks were off to the side? There was no sign or anything to show they wanted traffic to divert.

A: The state Highways Division "isn't sure" what maintenance crew was working on the Moanalua Freeway at the date and time you cite, "so cannot explain what the workers were doing," spokeswoman Marilyn Kali said.

In general, all workers are expected to follow a "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control devices" when setting up a work zone, she said. In June, the Department of Transportation issued a pocket-sized copy of the manual to all workers so they could have it handy at job sites.

Although everyone is aware of the dangers of exiting on the traffic side of the road, there are times, "due to restricted space," when workers are unable to do so on the non-traffic side, Kali said.

"We will remind all workers to exercise the proper caution when leaving their vehicles."


To all the drivers who speed along Hanakahi Street in Ewa Beach every day. It's like a raceway. Do police ever monitor this 25 mph residential street? They should, to slow down these drivers. -- E.G.


To HPD, paramedics and all the other good people who stopped to help us in an Aug. 11 accident on the H-1, just past the Likelike Freeway on-ramp. A special mahalo to a soldier in uniform who offered us his cell phone and an HPD officer who risked cutting himself to look for my glasses in the debris. Now I know for sure there are angels out there! -- A Very Grateful Driver

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to

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