City considers pothole patching upgrade

Published: May. 9, 2011 at 10:30 PM HST|Updated: May. 9, 2011 at 11:18 PM HST
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By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As rain wreaks havoc by opening up countless potholes on Oahu streets, the City and County of Honolulu is considering acquisition of a new "pothole patrol" vehicle that would improve productivity and result in longer lasting pothole patches.

"The vehicle that we are in the process of looking at procuring will keep the hot mix within an enclosure with a heating element so the mixture will stay hot throughout the day," said Westley Chun, Director of the city's Facility Maintenance Department.

Chun explained the trucks currently used by the pothole patrol are not enclosed. The mix cools after 3 or 4 hours. As a result the patrol makes at least two trips a day to pick up fresh mix that is hot enough to use as patch. This drive time slows productivity.

"It (the new vehicle) will also come with air hoses that will be able to operate a pneumatic operated tampering machine so not only will we have a better mix that we'll be using but we'll be able to compact it better in the hole," Chun said.

A more compact patch, Chun said, will last longer.

Kalaepaa Drive in Kalihi Valley has been patched so many times it resembles a quilt. Chun told Hawaii News Now it is one of the worst roads he has ever seen.

"The road is in very terrible shape. I feel very sorry for the residents that have to put up with it day to day and for our crews that have to go out there almost every other week to make fixes to the roadway," Chun added.

"When it rains like it's been for the last week and it floods, the water from the mountain comes down, and it lifts all of the patches that they have here. But it's been like this forever," said Marie Chastain, who lives on Kalaepaa Drive.

Residents say the road is in such bad shape filling potholes is no longer effective.

"The next storm comes, or rain, it will wash it all down," said resident Ben Nalawagan.

"They're going to patch some more. No make sense. They patch them up. (It) goes away next week. And they got to come back again," Nalawagan added.

Residents say the road desperately needs to be re-paved. The city agrees, Kalaepaa Drive needs an entirely new surface.

"That road was scheduled to be reconstructed 5 or 6 years ago until we were told to hold off until major sewer improvement project in that area could be completed first. Otherwise we will end up just paving the road and having to dig it up again to accommodate the new sewer lines that will be placed in that area. So now what we're doing is waiting for the department of environmental services to finish that work (the sewer work) and give us the green light to proceed on with the road resurfacing work," Chun said.

Chun said there is not a firm timetable for the resurfacing work, but promises it will be a priority once the sewer work is done.

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