HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the last several years, drivers heading down the section of Kawaiahao Street in Kakaako had to weave through a minefield of potholes.
But on Tuesday, road crews started to patch up the area to address an ongoing problem that’s been a headache for nearby businesses.
“We’ve been losing money because, first, a lot of people when they come to this road, they don’t really want to come back again,” said Bob Emami, owner of the Auto Store, which is located right in front a cluster of potholes.
“Second, I’m an automotive business and every time we drive in these potholes, it really affects us and it makes us have to spend more and more money on the cars to get them fixed, so we’ve been suffering for the last seven, eight years.”
While the city provided the labor, the state now owns the road, which is a development that came from a recent court ruling that went against the Kakaako Land Company. The land company has claimed ownership of several roads.
Businesses said the streets deteriorated while the company aggressively charged for street parking.
“The lesson here for all of us is that private companies cannot own roads in Hawaii,” state House Speaker Scott Saiki said. “They cannot charge for roads, and they cannot block access to roads.”
Kawaiahao Street is one of several roads in the area crews will be fixing in the immediate future.
They’ll also head to parts of Queen, Ilaniwai, Waimanu and Cummins streets.
“For now, we’re going to be doing first aid, essentially,” said Roger Babcock, director of the city’s Department of Facility Maintenance.
“We’re gonna be repairing potholes today just to try and make the roads a little more drivable. Going forward, we will continue to maintain and repair potholes. In addition, we will consider doing smaller repaving projects in the worst areas in order to make the roads usable in the interim.”