State's Road Construction Projects At A Halt

Scott Ishikawa
Scott Ishikawa

(KHNL) - The state's only supplier of liquid asphalt is closing down production and that could mean bumpy roads are ahead for Hawaii's drivers.

It may take several weeks even months before Tesoro resumes production of liquid asphalt. Tesoro officials were not available for comment.

State crews are hoping it doesn't rain again because most of the roadways are in desperate need of repair or they're susceptible to potholes.

"We've already had forty days of rain and it affected all of projects. Obviously we can't repave in the rain. Now were going to have another three week delay because of the asphalt shortage so it's a real shame because we were in a groove these last two years. We repaved nearly 2500 miles of state roads," says Scott Ishikawa from the state Department of Transportation.

Contractors, like Grace Pacific, mix the liquid with aggregate, a mineral material to form a hot-mix asphalt. That's what's used to pave roads.

There are at least a dozen road projects statewide. A total of three repaving projects on Farrington highway in Waipahu, Castle Junction in Kaneohe, and Aiea Access Road have all been put on hold.

"These are one of things were going have to give the contractors extensions," says Ishikawa.

Industry insiders say Tesoro has been having trouble keeping up with the demand. Chevron, the state's other refinery, stopped producing liquid asphalt last year. Officials from Grace Pacific say an emergency meeting will be held Monday to figure out how it'll deal with the asphalt shortage.