City scales back Beretania Street overhaul

City scales back Beretania Street overhaul

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city is scaling back an ambitious plan to overhaul busy Beretania Street. The $9.4 million rehabilitation project covers a two-mile stretch from Alapai Street to University Avenue.

During the State of the City address, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that workers repaved more than 700 lane miles in the last two years and have 800 more lane miles to finish in the next three years.

"We're in Kalihi. We're in Kamehameha Heights. We're in Kaneohe. We're in Palolo. We're on the North Shore. We're in Hawaii Kai," said Caldwell.

The Beretania project started last fall with crews replacing the bus pads. Just a couple of inches beneath the asphalt surface, workers discovered utility lines which would need to be relocated for a full depth reconstruction to even out the road. The center is higher than the sides due to several overlays.

"We'd have to delay and really dig up the road and spend months if not years, driving in traffic, driving the public crazy. We're doing so many roads and so many other construction projects. We stopped, we evaluated," explained Caldwell.

Once the redesign is done and a new contract is reached, crews will repave the top three inches. The mayor said the city can do a major reconstruction 7 or 8 years from now after the utility lines are moved, but some retailers along Beretania Street opposed the idea.

"The road will be better for the three inches, but now they're going to come back and spend more money to take up what they just put down," said Michael Strain of Hawaiian Rent All.

Businesses on Atkinson Drive are also dreading slowdowns during a one-month repaving project the city just started. The general manager of the Ala Moana Hotel is concerned about traffic and noise with crews working during the day and night.

"The tough thing is, so many of the rooms are on the ocean side which is on the same side as the construction work. We'll do our best to minimize," said Bill Comstock.

Drivers are already dealing with delays as crews gear up for resurfacing work on Kapahulu Avenue. Store owners along the busy street are hoping for a smooth ride down the road.

"You put up with the little things and I think in the long run it will be better for everybody involved," said Greg Azus of Hawaii's Natural High.

Caldwell plans to put in $110 million for road repaving in the budget he submits next week. That amount is $20 million less than the previous year, but he said the money would be enough to reach the city's repaving goals.

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