State Steps In with Asphalt Supply

Tire rim shows damage from pothole.
Tire rim shows damage from pothole.

(KHNL) - Despite the lack of asphalt on Oahu, the state is attacking the pothole problem with a back-up plan.

It bought ten tons of a more expensive asphalt to fill any potholes, until the regular supply comes in.

"When it's cloudy, slight showers, you wanna make sure you have something in stock just in case you have potholes popping up," said Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the Department of Transportation.

Road crews have been roaming the island, filling and potholes they find. Ishikawa realizes this is only a temporary measure, until they can go back to repaving entire stretches of road.

"Once you repave a road, you give it another 7 to 10 year shelf life, and you don't have to worry about the potholes," said Ishikawa.

One store has seen lots of business repairing damaged rims, but even they would rather see the roads fixed.

"I would love to see it repaired, then I could sell people beautiful new wheels and have no problems with potholes," said David Silva, owner of Revolution Motorsports.

Silva says four or five customers come in every day, looking to repair their wheels. He's says it's a big drop from earlier this year.

"We used to get a tremendous amount in December and January," said Silva. "We had up to 15, 20 people a day. I mean we were getting flooded for months."

Revolution claims it's the only store on the island that repairs rims, and provides documentation about pothole damage for people filing a claim.

Damage from potholes can range from small dings on the rim, to having the entire front end ripped off. Cost to repair rims can range from a few hundred dollars, Silva says, to $8,000.

Silva says he doesn't really make money off repairs, because it's so labor intensive. He says he'd rather see all that work go into fixing our roads.

"It would be a heck of a lot easier for us if the roads were clean," he said.

Tesoro is currently the only supplier of asphalt in Hawaii. It expects to have a new supply ready in early June.