Editor’s note: Old-timers might still remember the introduction from The Shadow radio program: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” Jerome Freitas, a retired state Department of Transportation worker who is now better known as Da Shadow, since 2004 has been meeting with government representatives about problems he has discovered or that have been reported to him, and reporting the county’s responses.
Kapaia Swinging Bridge
Da Shadow: What is the latest update on the swinging bridge? Has the county contacted Grove Farm Co. about conducting work on its property?
County: Updated construction drawings for reconstruction of the two towers are currently being reviewed by various agencies. There is currently approximately $130,000 in FY 2013 CIP funding to reconstruct two towers. We have requested additional $100,000 in FY 2014 CIP to complete engineering and construction for the remainder of bridge repairs. Concurrently, we are working with the community to create stewardship agreement (similar to Kaneiolouma Heiau) for the community to assume responsibility for operation and maintenance after county accomplishes reconstruction of the bridge.
Da Shadow: As you go up Kawaihau Road past St. Catherine’s to the wooden bridge, there is no yellow center line. When will this be restriped?
County: This roadway is only seventeen feet wide. A centerline is required if the road is 20 feet in width. Therefore, no centerline is required in this location.
Da Shadow: As you head up Kealia Road from Kuhio Highway, before you get to the post office, there is approximately 30 feet where the yellow centerline is faded. When will this be restriped?
County: Roads Administration has inspected, will place a work order with to have it restriped by the end of April.
Da Shadow: Where Mailihuna Road meets Kuhio Highway the guardrail on the left side is rotten and appears to be causing a safety hazard. When will it be replaced?
County: Guardrail installation and repair is a specialized service and under the terms of our current collective bargaining agreement, we must create a new unit within PW to complete this work and other specialized repairs. We are in the process of staffing that unit, and expect that the crew will be properly trained and ready to start this work by late summer or early fall.
Da Shadow: Where Mailihuna Road meets Kuhio Highway there is a steep drop-off on the right side. Is a retaining wall necessary?
County: This section of the roadway is under the jurisdiction of State Department of Transportation Highways Division.
Da Shadow: What is the cost of a safety mirror? If the County won’t be installing safety mirrors on blind curves, what will be done instead to insure safety?
County: We are in the process of establishing a three-way stop at the Olohena/Kaapuni Road intersection. This has to be approved by Council and we hope to have their approval to proceed within four weeks. In the meantime, we have cleared vegetation in the area and are considering removing a hedge that also obstructs the view of drivers in this area. The issue with mirrors is not cost. Mirrors are not MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) approved devices. The cost of a safety mirror — including shipping and installation — is roughly $2,500.
Da Shadow: Would the County consider restricting left turns onto Rice Street out of the roadway between the post office and First Hawaiian Bank?
County: The entire traffic pattern of Rice Street in the Civic Center area is being reevaluated and traffic flow in and out of the post office is being considered as part of this effort.
Da Shadow: This bridge is now blocked off with yellow tape and construction barricades? Why is this?
County: It is blocked off on the highway side because the safety railings have not been completed for the new ramp. The existing access from the Safeway side is still open. The railings are expected to be installed by the end of June.
Upper Kapahi Reservoir
Da Shadow: This reservoir hasn’t had water for about a year or so. Farmers are impacted. DLNR states that they are waiting on County Public Works to issue permits before they can begin to restore the reservoir. What is the timeline for this?
County: The decommissioning of the Upper Kapahi Reservoir is a state project requiring County permits because of proposed work within the county roadway. Public Works provided comments in May of 2011 requesting information on downstream flooding impacts of the decommissioning and we are awaiting their response. Further information should be requested from the DLNR on their plans for the Upper Kapahi Reservoir.
Da Shadow: There is a ditch that runs along the driveway that is on the south end of Vidinha Stadium parking lot. There is lots of opala in that ditch. Can it be cleaned?
County: Public Works responded to this concern in December 2012 and the ditch has been cleaned.
Da Shadow: For the bus shelter construction, which bus stops will be addressed first? How do we determine which stops are addressed in which order?
County: The first phase of bus stop passenger shelters will include eight locations that will be selected using the following criteria: 1) At least one per district, 2) Highest Use, 3) “Construction-Friendly” (existing infrastructure, space and ownership). We’re looking forward to holding community meetings this summer to provide each community with project information, as well as appeal to the public for their input.
• Jerome Freitas can be reached at email@example.com or 635-3528. Visit his website at http://theshadow96746.tripod.com.