Kokua Line

June Watanabe

DOT at fault in lack
of word of road closure

Question: One lane of the H-1 freeway, eastbound between the Waimalu and Aiea offramps, was closed from around 8:30 a.m. Oct. 17 without any announcement. No warning messages to motorists, and it's not even listed on the DOT's own Web site The result was a major jam-up, which probably contributed to the four-car accident in that area. The irony is that they had a sign announcing late-night roadwork for drivers going Ewa-bound. Hmm, now will there be more drivers affected by construction in the morning eastbound, or 10 p.m. going west? Another issue is that the road-cleaning crew starts work at 9 a.m., even in the areas of H-1 with only three lanes (i.e., in town). That creates another jam-up. Why can't they clean those areas after the morning rush hour?

Answer: The state Department of Transportation acknowledges it "messed up" regarding the lane closures.

The Highways Division closed the Honolulu-bound lanes for three days, Oct. 15-17, to do some surveying for a future repaving project but failed to notify the public affairs office about the closure.

"It probably didn't help that the unannounced lane closure came the day after police had to shut down the same section of highway for several hours because of the Oct. 14 speeding accident," said transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa. "We apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused."

As for the highway maintenance hours, it's damned if they do and damned if they don't.

The maintenance crew, which is short-staffed, needs to start at 9 a.m. because of the long list of assignments each day, Ishikawa said.

"Just as with a contractor doing road construction starting at 9 a.m., the maintenance crews need sufficient time to complete their work or fall behind on assignments," he said. "As we head into winter, the shorter daytime hours is another reason we have to maintain our schedule."

Q: The experts tell us not to carry our Social Security number around to prevent identity theft. The Hawaii driver's license no longer requires a Social Security number on it. However, the University of Hawaii faculty ID card still has Social Security numbers. Is UH doing anything to correct that?

A: It already has.

As of Aug. 25 the Campus Center ID Office does not issue any faculty, staff or student ID cards with Social Security numbers, said Marlene Mattos, supervisor of the UH Campus Center ticket, information and ID office.

UH-Manoa recently converted to a new Banner ID information system, which uses a unique eight-digit number, she said.

Mattos also checked with the community colleges and was told that faculty and staff IDs were issued with Social Security numbers before the start of the fall semester, but they are currently being printed without an ID number.

If you have any other questions or concerns, call 956-7235 or 956-7236.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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