Rita De Silva’s column in the Nov. 6 TGI (“Please, please, bring back the
Kapa’a bypass”) about our Kapa’a bypass being closed, along with her words
about the sorry condition of our roads compared to those on the Big Island,
really jumped out at me. And I am sure for those of you who must endure traffic
jams day in and day out in Kapa’a (even with the bypass open) or through Puhi
to Lihu’e, her words rang out loud and clear.
I certainly compliment her
for focusing on an issue that affects the mobility of this Island.
times over the years, we have had mainland urban planners visit Kaua’i who have
told us how we could alleviate a large amount of the traffic through Kapa’a by
putting feeder roads from our bypass to the shopping centers. I believe it was
estimated that 90 percent of the cars that come to shop in Kapa’a are from the
Wailua Homesteads and the Kawaihau district, and if these feeder roads were in
place, none of these people would need to use Kuhio Highway, thus eliminating a
large part of the problem.
The Department of Transportation people were on
Kaua’i about eight months ago and though the bypass road is their kuliana. They
said that any feeder roads were the counties’ problem, so, as usual, we end up
with no one willing to take the bull by the horns and getting the job done.
When will this stalemate of state problem or county problem ever end and
someone in authority say it’s Kauai’s problem and, for the people, needs to be
addressed? There are many brilliant people on this Island who only need to be
listened to. (And they are all pro bono, too,) But we must have elected
officials who will consult with them and take their wise advice. The mindset
that if it weren’t a hired or elected official’s idea, it can’t be a good idea
must change if our Island is going to move forward.
And for six years our
administration has done nothing to help solve this critical problem along with
myriad other problems yelling for attention: Solid waste, our beaches, our
parks and our infrastructure. Yes, the state has a big role in helping solve a
lot of these problems, but as Rita De Silva so wisely said, “The people we
ultimately vote into office have a much better chance of getting answers to the
critical questions and making sure they’re the right ones.”
these elected officials are on Kaua’i or represent us at the state level, it is
their duty to get something done. This administration has been the best at
pointing the finger at someone else for their own shortcomings, i.e., the state
and the lack of lifeguards on our beaches which are over 90 percent controlled
by the county, the Department of Health for their too-stringent compaction
rules, and our not getting the Puhi Metals recycling area open (still not open
after putting over a million dollars into it when we were told that it would be
open and running in Oct. of l998 and our taxes were reasied to get it
operational), and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for making
us remove a revetment wall at a cost to the taxpayers of $500,000 or more, and
on and on.
When Rita also states that “The condition of our roads
doesn’t help either….having your brains rattled by patches and potholes when
you are moving makes it harder to keep your cool,” she really strikes a
sensitive nerve with me. For over four years I have addressed the fact that our
roads are being illegally paved, since they aren’t paved by the code that
private contractors are mandated to follow. I have testified before our council
three times and have yet to hear an answer to my above question – not from the
council, nor from the administration. The Standard Details Manual For Public
Works Construction (the rules governing all public works construction)
specifically states that our roads shall have a six-inch minimum borrow sub
base; four-inch aggregate base course; and two inches of asphaltic concrete.
However, this code only applies to the private contractor who unilaterally does
the job. When our county does the work or instructs the contractor what should
be done, this code is thrown out the window.
Thus, you will see sections of
our roads with no sub base and finished grade at thicknesses of quarter-inch to
three-quarters inch. So instead of our roads lasting for 20 years or more if
done by code, they fall apart in a year or sometimes less and our tax dollars
are grossly wasted.
Sure, as Rita said, the Big Island’s roads are in
great shape because they have codes that are rigidly followed and they last.
The Big Island also solved their junk car problem in l994, and their taxpayers
are paying about $40 per car to dispose of their vehicles, whereas here on
Kaua’i (by Jean Camp’s estimate), we spend over $250 to dispose of the same
What do these problems coupled with gross inefficiency tell you about
the way our administration is operating? Hopefully, the new performance audit
that Councilman Hooser introduced and was passed by the voters will bring some
semblance of accountability to address and correct so man of these inexcusable