Hidden hazards force redesign of 2 major repaving projects

Hidden hazards force redesign of two major repaving projects
Published: Feb. 8, 2016 at 2:23 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2016 at 7:11 PM HST
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Ron Lockwood
Ron Lockwood

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two major repaving projects are finally moving ahead after running into serious problems, but the city had to scale back the work on the heavily-traveled roadways.

The city started to overhaul a two-mile stretch of Beretania Street from Alapai Street to University Avenue in the fall of 2014. The center of the road is higher than the sides due to repeated asphalt overlays.

"It does two things. It makes it hard for our pedestrians to cross the street. The other thing is it makes puddles around all the driveways," said Ron Lockwood, chair of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board.

Crews soon discovered shallow utility lines that would need to be relocated for a full-depth reconstruction.

"We tried to go in and have the utilities lower them, but it was too large of a project for them to be able to find the funding and get the work done in a short enough time," explained Robert Kroning, director of the city Department of Design and Construction.

The redesigned project will only replace the top few inches of asphalt. Since less material will be used, Kroning said the price tag will drop by $1 million to $8.4 million. The repaving is expected to start in the next three weeks and could last up to three months.

"We're hoping in 6 to 7 years we'll coordinate with all the utilities to go in, do all their work at once, so that we can then do the reconstruction and have the least amount of impact on the city," Kroning said.

"I'll be ecstatic to see it leveled out and even so I can ride a bus from here to Honolulu Hale and not get jostled," said Lockwood.

The city also faced problems with shallow utilities along Kapahulu Avenue. Crews resumed resurfacing work on the roadway last month. A contractor hit a gas line in June, sparking a huge fire. The city later discovered other hidden hazards, forcing officials to scale back parts of the project. Officials admit that the sections which aren't fully reconstructed won't be as durable.

"We don't expect that layer to last as long. It's still a very good layer and it will last quite awhile, but if it has the same pounding year after year you would expect that to deteriorate faster," said Kroning.

The price tag for the Kapahulu Avenue project will drop by $390,000, according to city officials. The work is expected to wrap up by the end of February or early March.

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