Who Turned Out the Lights on H-2?

(KHNL) - On Wednesdays, we link up with our news partners at the Honolulu Advertiser for the Bureaucracy Buster column.

That's where readers or viewers write or call when they have a problem getting answers from government.

This week's question comes from several readers who have noticed that a stretch of the H-2 freeway, which used to have lighting, hasn't for months.

Readers have complained about a lack of streetlights along two stretches of the H-2 freeway. One is near the H-1, H-2 split and another is between Waipio Gentry and Mililani.

State Transportation Department Spokesman Scott Ishikawa said he's very familiar with both areas but doesn't yet have an answer for when the problem will be fixed.

That's because Ishikawa said both areas were plunged into darkness by the recent thefts of copper wiring by vandals in the area. Ishikawa said it's not as simple as just putting in new copper wires, because the state would like to think of a way to secure them so they won't have to keep replacing them everytime someone steals the wire.

Ishikawa said the state faces a dilemma because the electrical code requires that streetlights be accessible immediately for emergency repairs such as a car accident that knocks down a pole. So, he said making them too secure could create other problems.

Ishikawa said contractors actually completed wiring work on the H-2 lights in summer 2005.

The thefts of the wires occurred twice in the following months. The problem with the H-2 is there are several places where people can hide until the traffic dies down.

Meanwhile, the state has asked its landscapers to clear the brush along the H-2 as much as possible to create fewer hiding places while they work on other solutions.