Windward Oahu road to be ripped up months after major repaving project. The reason: poor planning

A large portion a freshly paved road in Windward Oahu is about to be ripped up again. The reason: poor planning.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 5:46 PM HST|Updated: May. 4, 2023 at 7:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A large portion a freshly paved road in Windward Oahu is about to be ripped up again. The reason: poor planning.

Last summer, the city spent nearly a quarter-million dollars to repave part of Auloa Road, not realizing the Board of Water Supply would be coming in a few months later and tearing much of it up again.

The fresh layer of asphalt is only a few months old. But it’s already been defaced with red and white spray paint. It’s the work of construction crews, that will soon rip through the pavement to replace half century old water pipes that run underneath.

Board of Water Supply officials say it’s a $15 million project nearly seven years in the making. Despite all that planning, word of the work apparently never made it to Honolulu Hale.

In July, the city spent nearly $250,000 to resurface just over a two-mile stretch of the winding residential road between the Pali Highway and Lunaai Street.

Now, the utility company confirms workers are preparing to dig up about a third of a mile stretch of the newly paved road — asphalt that should have lasted for the next five years.

“It’s just disappointing,” said Bill Hicks.

The chair of Kailua’s neighborhood board says the double disruption isn’t only an inconvenience, it’s costly to taxpayers.

“You have to question the process,” Hicks said. “Back in 2012 the city council passed an ordinance to enact a program called Complete Streets. The city obligated itself to go through this checklist and see if there are any other projects that were due or potentially necessary.”

The idea is by coordinating everything all at once, it reduces costs and there’s less disruption to drivers and the neighborhood.

Hicks said, “The checklist is either deficient. Or the execution of the checklist is deficient.”

When Hawaii News Now Investigates asked Board of Water Supply spokesperson Kathleen Pahinui what happened, she replied, “Unfortunately every now and then, a project will get overlooked.”

HNN Investigates confirmed, despite both agencies participating in monthly meetings to prevent these types of blunders, the mistake still happened.

Pahinui apologized on behalf of the utility and the city saying incidents like this are rare.

“None of us like it when it happens,” she said. “And it’s certainly not something we did deliberately on anybody’s part. It was an unfortunate oversight.”

Hicks says he’d like to see an after action report to nail down exactly what went wrong.

“Some determination to see how it was not caught,” he said, “And some upgrading to the checklist or the procedure to minimize the chances of reoccurrence.”

If all goes as planned, the Board of Water Supply Project should be complete by the spring of 2025.

Map(Board of Water Supply)