Pothole work can’t happen without dry weather

Evasive driving is back in town.

Only this time, we’re not talking about avoiding inattentive local drivers or lost visitors.

We’re talking about dodging potholes.

And, until there is a string of sunny, or at least not-rainy, days, motorists will have to keep on dodging.

“We gotta let the ground dry out a little bit first,” said Scott Ishikawa, state Department of Transportation spokesperson.

Ishikawa said it makes no sense to try to fill potholes on state highways on the island (members of crews are dealing with similar problems on O’ahu) in rainy weather, as it’s like trying to fill the puka with “oatmeal.”

An example of that futility remains on display along Kaumuali’i Highway near the intersection of Nawiliwili Road at Kukui Grove Center, where an oft-filled pothole is wider and deeper than ever, in the vicinity of a yard long by around two feet wide, and at least a foot deep in its deepest spot.

Other potholes, and standing puddles including a huge one at one of the entrances to the Kapa’a Shopping Center, dwarf the Kukui Grove void.

Tires dig up the new pavement, tossing the new gravel here and there, creating the need for additional patching, Ishikawa explained.

There was no information available yesterday about plans to patch potholes on county roads, though members of one county Department of Public Works Division of Road Construction & Maintenance crew were filling puka on Hardy Street in Lihu’e yesterday morning, before rains resumed.

Ishikawa said state DOT-Highways Division officials “took some gas” from motorists who had to wait extended periods of time, especially those in the northbound lane, of Kuhio Highway near Kilauea, when a decision was made Wednesday to fix the road that had been limited to one-lane traffic after being closed for nearly two days after the March 14 flooding.

He said it was Steve Kyono’s call to mobilize workers from Jas W. Glover, Ltd., the Half-way Bridge-based paving contractor, when rainy weather prevented work from being done at night on Tuesday into early Wednesday morning, and do the work during day-light hours Wednesday when a break in the weather occurred.

Kyono is the Kaua’i district engineer for the state DOT-Highways Division.

That work caused unexpected delays for motorists, but resulted in re-opening of the highway to two lanes of passenger-vehicle traffic, Ishikawa said.

Drivers of delivery vehicles are still asked to call the DOT-Highways Division Kaua’i district office, 274-3100, with an estimated time of arrival at the highway in Kilauea, as traffic will have to be stopped to allow the big trucks to traverse the middle of the high-way across the area where the Wailapa Stream went over and under the highway on March 14, Ishikawa said.

Millions of gallons of water poured ocean-ward after Ka Loko Reservoir overflowed during a period of intense rain early that morning. The flow washed away at least two homes, killing three people and leaving four others missing and presumed dead.

Portable traffic signals were installed along the stretch also on Wednesday, to accommodate the stopping of traffic for larger delivery trucks, Ishikawa concluded.


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