Honolulu mayor commits to 5-year plan to fix roads

$150 million requested in the budget starting in 2014

Published  5:30 PM HST Feb 25, 2013
HONOLULU -

It's tough to put a price tag on the frustration on Oahu's roads.  But Mayor Kirk Caldwell is trying to do just that.

He is requesting $150 million starting next year to repave nearly one-third of the lanes of city roadways over the next five years.

They were roads deemed degraded or unsatisfactory in a December survey of city roads.

"We think it's the largest sum of money we've ever committed in the history of the City & County of Honolulu to road repaving, and while it's not sexy, it's not glamorous, it's what cities do to make life good in the community," said Caldwell.

Caldwell says the money would come from selling bonds which are at a low interest rate.

He will need the commitment of the Honolulu City Council.  Public Works chair Stanley Chang says he's all for it.

"One-hundred-fifty-million is what they've requested in this coming year's budget is twice what it was two years ago and just 10 years ago the amount allocated for road was just $5 million?" said Chang.  "So, this is an enormous increase in the amount of work done."

The unions and paving companies say the project will create 75 to 125 new jobs.

"For those of us in the road-building business, this is heaven-sent for all of us and we're looking forward to dedicating ourselves to getting the work done," said Darrell Goo, senior vice-president of operations at Grace Pacific.

They mayor also announced the launch of an online program where you can find out if your street is one of those on the list for repaving, and if so, when it is scheduled between now and 2017.

You will be able to simply look up your street and find out if it's part of the plan.  It's an aggressive project, but the mayor says it will take everyone to make it happen.

"We all know we need to do better so I just ask people for their patience," said Caldwell.  "People on this street as the road is repaved -- it is a little bit humbug, but I can promise you  once it's done, they're happy."

They mayor is also committed to spending about $3 million a year to use a slurry seal process to maintain roadways already deemed satisfactory.

Do you want to print this page now?