A Closer Look at Hawaii's 'Structurally Deficient' Bridges

Scott Shigeoka
Scott Shigeoka

(KHNL) -- A closer look now at Hawaii bridges that are in need of repair. Thursday, we reported that 14 percent of bridges here are considered "structurally deficient" -- the same category as the Minnesota bridge that collapsed Wednesday.

This two-lane bridge spans the Kapalama Canal, and runs parallel to the H-1 freeway. When we say "structurally deficient," we're talking about structural components that have eroded over time. It may not necessarily be unsafe, but there are some limitations to speed or weight on these bridges. Those who live near them hope they get fixed soon.

This bridge on Moanalua Road is on the list of Hawaii's "structurally deficient" bridges. It's near schools, malls and homes.

Scott Shigeoka lives near the bridge. He said midday traffic is nothing compared to commuter traffic.

"Rush hour gets pretty packed up," he said. "It's gridlocked so cars line up at the stoplight, goes all the way to top. So the bridge is fully capacitated."

That's why he hopes this bridge gets fixed before something bad happens.

"I mean, we walk on these bridges: kids, adults, elderly," said Shigeoka. "It's a very populated city, especially for the elderly and kids."

And in Kalihi, another bridge is on the list. This one is over the Kapalama Canal. Paul Dela Cruz said he's worried about it.

"I've seen some of the rocks falling off from the bridge," he said.

Beyond that, there are several major cracks on the bridge which is a few hundred yards from the H-1.

Dela Cruz hopes this bridge also gets fixed because it's a busy thoroughfare.

"Yeah, everyday afternoon we get a lot of traffic come by," he said. "And I don't know. They drive too fast over here."

Heavy traffic and structurally unsound bridges could mean bad news for commuters.

"You know it's all about their welfare, making sure they're safe," said Shigeoka. "That's the important thing. These bridges should be kept safe and fixed to be safe."

Again, none of the high-capacity bridges like on the ones spanning parts of the H-3 and the H-1 viaduct are on the list. The estimated cost to bring all Hawaii bridges up to par is about $1 billion.