Mayor lowers request for road repaving funds as city nears goal

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With the heavy rain that we’ve been experiencing, avoiding newly formed potholes can be a challenge. This is a problem Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell even admits experiencing on his way to Honolulu Hale each morning.

One of the bullet points brought up on Thursday in the mayor’s budget request was roads.

So far city crews have repaved just over 1,300 lane miles of the 1,500 they set out to cover when they began the project last year.

The mayor says now the repaving will be moving closer to town.

If you were driving on Punchbowl Street on Thursday you might have run into an unwelcome obstacle, a large pothole. These have been popping up around the island thanks to heavy rains that have left some streets in bad shape.

Even Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has taken notice, “We do have major roads, Punchbowl for example, with some major potholes that need to be paved and we are going to be paving those kinds of roads, all the roads in town some of the roads in Manoa where I live as well.”

Gerard Ahquin, a manager at Lex Brodies, said the company has seen a bump in business, “There’s always an increase after the rain because of more potholes. When they fill the holes it washes away and then you’re thinking the road that you drive down every day is fine, the potholes have been filled in. A week later after the rain the potholes are back.”

Last year, the mayor budgeted $150 million to repave Oahu’s neglected roadways. That number could drop to $30 million this year, according to the mayor because of all the progress that’s been made. “What’s remaining is bigger roads, we’ll hit those so the pothole complaints should drop in terms of major thoroughfares, and then we are going to ramp up the road maintenance part. It doesn’t mean we’re going to stop repaving roads we will continue to do that for the remainder of this term but a much lower rate than we have.”

The mayor says he’s also adding $5 million for pothole repairs. Crews will still be filling potholes as needed.

As far as patching potholes is concerned, response time varies, one of the city’s goals was to fill potholes in a timely manner. According to the city, it fell short of it’s goal. Around 30 percent of the potholes were filled within 5 days, just under 40 percent within a week, and around 60 percent within two weeks.

The mayor says he wants to address the real problem, repaving substandard roads, “The number of potholes has dropped, filling has dropped dramatically which it should if you’re now repaved 1,300 lane miles of roads that were bad. There should be less potholes.”

To report a pothole to the city, call 768-7777.

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