TRAFFIC ALERT: Emergency repairs to close lanes on Pensacola Street for months

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A short but heavily-used stretch of Pensacola Street will be reduced to one lane for several months due to emergency repairs.

The emergency repairs are taking place in a two-block area between Kapiolani Boulevard and Waimanu Street. This area of Pensacola is used by motorists going to Ala Moana Center and Kakaako, as well as several high-rise condominiums in the area.

The repairs began at 9 a.m. Thursday.

According to the city, two box culverts built in 1971 have deteriorated to the point that it could cause the roadway to collapse. The damage as found during a recent inspection of a storm drain, which showed that the concrete top slab had significant deteriorated due to spalling.

"There is the potential that the roadway will start giving way," said city Director of Design and Construction Robert Kroning. "We don't believe that there's catastrophic failure imminent, although although remote possibility is that there are sections of roadway that fall in."

Even though it is a remote possibility, it was still enough to prompt the city to call for immediate repairs.

Some of the work will affect the intersections of Pensacola and Kapiolani on one end, and Waimanu Street on the other. Steel plates will be installed in those areas to shore up the pavement. The city wants those intersections to be affected for the least amount of time.

"I can't really give you an accurate time line," said Kroning. "We're hoping we can get this done in about two weeks. And then start opening up parts of the road as we get this done."

Kroning said the full work on Pensacola will still take several months. During that time, only one lane will be open -- right down the middle -- because engineers said it is the strongest part of the roadway. Steel plates will be placed on the sides to allow access to the many businesses in the area.

Even after the work is done to repair the culverts, it will still be a temporary fix. Kroning said a permanent solution will have to wait until funding can be approved in the city's budget.

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