Representative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) has sent a letter to the Department of Transportation questioning the repaving plan slated to begin on Monday, June 23.
Ward questioned the lane closures plan as well as the length of the project. “It took 4 years to add 2 lanes to the old 4-lane Kalanianaole Highway while at the same time paving 6 lanes, acquiring land, moving and relocating underground utilities, and other related electrical, telephone, and sewer problems. This same 5-mile stretch of road is now said to take almost 2 years (20 months) to just resurface. Is this an accurate calculation,” Ward questioned.
Ward also noted that the outrage among his constituents during the Kalanianaole Highway Widening Project of the early 1990’s was resolved by the formation of a Kalanianaole Highway Task Force. The task force was comprised of East Oahu elected officials, the DOT, and paving contractors and resolved such issues as implementing a hotline, the first-ever contraflow in East Honolulu, and placement of irrigated trees in the middle of the medial strip rather than rocks and cement proposed by the DOT.
“If we’ve learned anything from what my community went through in the last paving project, it’s for the DOT to be receptive and not defensive, and just listen to the community and history will never be repeated.” Ward concluded by proposing the reactivation of such a task force.