City crews scramble to fill potholes left by heavy rains

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With so many potholes to fill following the recent heavy rains on Oahu, the city has increased the number of crews patrolling the island.

Using a giant dump truck and good old-fashioned muscle, one of the teams tended to Kapahulu Avenue's post-downpour wounds.

The city says in the Honolulu district -- which stretches from Halawa Stream to Kalama Valley -- its crews patched about 135 potholes using 4.6 tons of hot mixed asphalt Wednesday. On a normal day, about 80 potholes would be filled using 2.5 tons of asphalt.

"I think it's been really bad, especially Moanalua Road," Maile Wong, Aiea resident, said. "We kind of have to weave in and out of just one lane trying to avoid the potholes."

Wong says her heart sinks whenever her car hits one.

"Rims aren't cheap nowadays," she said. "So they kind of put a damper on my pocket, you know."

With all the potholes that were out there, you'd think car owners were swarming repair shops with mangled rims, busted tires and the like. Surprisingly, the shops we contacted said they haven't seen a surge in business.

"When it gets rainy, we do expect to get busy," Mike Rizzo, Lex Brodie's, said. "We do prepare for the increase in flat repairs and all the kind of damage, bent wheels. We look for it, but we haven't noticed any change."

Perhaps drivers have become adept at avoiding the pesky pukas.

"People know where the potholes are," Rizzo said. "So they do their best to avoid them, swerving out of the way, avoiding certain roads, or just controlling their driving habits when they're on the bad roads."

The city says it normally has nine people repairing potholes on any given day. But on Wednesday, 21 workers were assigned to the task.

Crews patched holes in Downtown Honolulu, Waikiki, Manoa, Pearl City and Ewa on Tuesday. They worked the roads in Waianae, Laie, Kailua, Kaneohe and Kapahulu on Wednesday.

"When the rains come again, it's only going to get worse," Wong said. "Whatever they fix, they're going to have to fix again."

"I remember there was a great war once against potholes, and the potholes won," Peter Carlisle, Honolulu mayor, said. "They're still winning."

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