Plethora of potholes popping up


POSTED: Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Makiki woman blew two tires Sunday in a pothole in an eastbound lane of the H-1 freeway near the Punchbowl offramp.






        To report potholes:
» On city streets: 768-7777
» On state highways and freeways: 536-7852 (PUKA)




To file a claim of damage due to potholes:
» City: Get forms at any satellite City Hall
» State: Call 831-6714



She wasn't the only one who lost tires that day.

“;The hole was so deep, it punctured both tires,”; said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. “;It hit so hard I thought that maybe the suspension had gone awry.”;

After the recent storm and heavy rains, potholes have sprouted like fungi, generating headaches among drivers and work for state and city road crews.

After receiving reports Sunday, the state Department of Transportation sent out an emergency crew to repair that H-1 pothole, said DOT spokeswoman Tammy Mori.

Carl Bush Jr., a salesman at Lex Brodie Tire Co., said most of his business Sunday was from that single crater.

“;Four or five customers that day came in with flat tires,”; he said.

Bush said people planned to file claims to try to get the state or city to pay for the damage.

On Monday, state crews went out to Leeward Oahu, and inspectors fanned out across the island yesterday, documenting the problem. Mori said repair crews were out in full force yesterday to repair the numerous cavities in the state highways and freeways.

Two westbound lanes of the H-1 freeway were closed yesterday near Aiea to fix major potholes that began to surface, she said.

“;Water on the road is like the devil,”; Mori said, quoting DOT Director Brennan Morioka. “;It's so conducive for potholes. The water goes into the cement or asphalt and in hot weather, it starts to expand. That's why we have potholes popping up all over the place.”;

The city has been busy, as well.

“;It's going to be a catch-up process,”; Craig Nishimura, director of the city Facility Maintenance Department, said yesterday. “;They've been at it for a day or so.”;

But filling potholes doesn't mean an end to the problem.

“;The patches on the potholes are temporary,”; he explained. “;Any time you get water on the road, and it gets into the pavement itself, it causes it to peel off. Those are already damaged areas, so they're the weak points.”;

Louis Ilac, manager at the Kaneohe Lex Brodie's Tire Co., said he's seen a “;24-inch rim split in half because of the potholes,”; and “;quite a few dents and dings.”;

Ilac, who drives between Waianae and Kaneohe daily, said he's noticed a recurring problem from the H-1/H-2 merge to the Pearl City H-1/H-2 Interchange.

“;They can't keep the road together over there,”; he said. “;That stretch of road has got to be the worst.”;

Ilac, a motorcyclist, said the road from Sunset Beach to Chinaman's Hat also is “;a pretty ugly stretch,”; adding, “;Any time you have a heavy rain, you're going to have a spike in tire injuries.”;