National survey reports Hawaii’s rural roads in poor condition


A recent national survey showed that Hawaii has the fourth worst rural roads in the country. The report looked at major roads outside of urban cities with a population of 25-thousand or more. Here on Oahu that’s places like Waianae, North Shore, and Waimanolo.

The report does not break down the numbers into different counties but as a state 28 percent of paved rural roads are in poor condition. However, UH Professor and Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering Panos Prevedouros believes counties like Maui have roads in better condition than the survey reports.

The report also adds that a desirable goal is to keep 75 percent of major roads in good condition. Prevedouros says that’s important. 

“A partial contributor to crashes on rural roads is the poor conditions of those roads so it is significant to maintain them,” said Prevedouros. 

One Waimanalo resident says she’s used to driving through rough roads in the country but is glad that a portion of Kalanianaole Highway is getting repaired.

“They’re pretty bad but they are trying to fix it and make it nice, but it’s been like 2 years now,” said resident Bonnie Duarte. 

We’re told major rural roads are usually maintained by the state. We reached out and the transportation department spokeswoman sent us this statement:

“HDOT has been prioritizing system preservation projects such as repaving and reconstruction of roads and bridge repairs with approximately 90 percent of our highways funds dedicated to preservation projects from 2016 to present. State funds for highways projects are generated through vehicle registration fees, weight fees, and fuel taxes, which have not been raised on the state side since 2011.
Our Highways Division has been maximizing our highways funds by refining their project delivery processes. This has allowed us to work projects in rural communities like Nanakuli, Kapaa, and Pahoa and bring down our unexpended federal obligation balance to the lowest level in 17 years. We will continue our focus on preserving the roads and bridges residents and visitors to Hawaii count on.”

The city also gave us an update on how many roads it’s repaved. Here are the numbers:

In December of 2017, the city has repaved thousands of lane miles of roadways, and currently, just a few miles short of reaching 2,000 lane miles of the city’s inventory of 3,517 lane miles. This represents more than 56 percent of all city roads.

As Mayor Caldwell mentioned in his December 2017 press conference, the amount spent so far on road repaving since his administration began is roughly $550 million.

The Department of the Corporation Counsel confirms that 164 pothole claims were filed in calendar year 2017. This represents the total number of filings, and not claims that were approved.

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