PEARL CITY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A $1.1 million fence is being taken down just three years after it was put up. Some are calling it a waste of taxpayer money, but the State says there was a good reason.
The three miles of fencing on Kamehameha Highway stretches about from Aloha Stadium in Aiea to the Home Depot in Pearl City. When the fence went up it had a decorative mesh as well, but about three years down the road it's disappearing to make way for rail construction.
"Perhaps we needed a little bit better planning so taxpayer money could be spent wisely," said John Cho, Da Motor Sports Owner on Kamehameha Highway.
Cho says he didn't like the fence because it blocked visibility and figured it was a bad idea.
"It only lived three years and has to go away. I'm sure the money has to come from somewhere, probably taxpayers," said Cho.
However there was a good reason for the fence. Several pedestrians have been hit while jaywalking across the busy highway. Before the fence there was on average one fatality and a dozen people hit every year along this corridor. There was another fatality just three weeks ago in a section where the fence was down.
As to why build it with the train coming? At the end of 2010 the rail wasn't a done deal. A number of factors could have delayed or derailed plans so the state wasn't going to wait to build not knowing the rails future.
Moving forward the state has now given jurisdiction to Hart to design, build and pay for a new fence once the rail line is finished. And yes the two sides say they will talk with each other before the new permanent fence goes up.
"HART will continue working with the state Department of Transportation on our fencing options along the Kamehameha Highway median when rail construction is completed in the area," said Scott Ishikawa, Hart Public Involvement Team.
The train stations will have platforms above that connect each side so the hope is people won't need to jaywalk across the highway.