County employees working to rehab roads islandwide

  • Courtesy of County of Kauai

    County workers fill potholes after recent storms caused damage to some of the roads on Kauai.

  • Courtesy of County of Kauai

    The County of Kauai Hanapepe base yard crew fills potholes.

  • Courtesy of County of Kauai

    A team of County of Kauai workers fills potholes after weeks of rain on Kauai.

LIHUE — Tire Warehouse Kauai is booked two weeks in advance on front-end alignment work because of potholes.

Roads on Kauai are littered with them, worsened by recent weeks of rainy weather, and drivers are lining up for new tires and alignments while county workers are putting in overtime to maintain roads.

“It has brought a lot of people into our warehouse lately,” said Tire Warehouse counter clerk Lorraine Wichman.

Car alignments can cost between $80 and $100, Wichman said.

The County of Kauai maintains about 300 miles of roads and 59 bridges, with a total of 60 workers in base yard crews in Hanapepe, Kapaa and Hanalei taking care of each district.

These workers are also responsible for roadside maintenance, mowing, tree-trimming, storm-drain and canal-clearing, filling potholes on the county right of way, as well as performing other tasks, said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami.

“Over the past three weeks, our Hanapepe base yard crew has been addressing the potholes on Koloa Road that have widened as a result of the ongoing severe weather,” he said.

Work isn’t finished for county road crews. Potholes still need to be filled in the Koloa area, as well as other places around Kauai.

Koloa resident Cal Santos said he appreciates the county employees who have worked through the storms to fix the potholes near his home.

“We as a community need to understand that there is a process to everything,” Santos said.

“Our county workers have been getting harassed on social media. It’s a shame that people nowadays think that they are entitled. Maybe those people should ask themselves what did they do today to make Kauai a better place instead of complaining.”


Stephanie Shinno, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or

  1. Dale Rosenfeld January 19, 2020 6:27 am Reply

    Joyce at Roads Department is lively, taking my pothole reports with humor and grace. Unfortunately, upper Waipouli Rd continues to get worse with current potholes deep enough to see China and with no way to avoid them. PLEASE address this area with more than fill that lasts one day.

  2. Uncleaina January 19, 2020 8:09 am Reply

    In Texas there’s 678,900 miles of roads maintained by 12500 people. That’s 54 miles of road per person. On Kauai we have 300 miles of roads being maintained by 60 people- that’s 5 miles of road per person. Sure I can see it costing more, much more per mile on Kauai than Texas – but not 11 times more. That’s the problem. That large of a difference isn’t explainable by anything but waste, mismanagement and corruption. Pau.

  3. Makani B. Howard January 19, 2020 9:45 am Reply

    While we appreciate them working hard, so much more needs to be done to Koloa road! This is just a minor bandaid.

    Those “fixes” will be potholes once again in a month! That road needs to be redone. PERIOD!

    The only reason it was done at all was because so many people complained on rants and raves!

  4. Blaine Perrella January 19, 2020 10:39 am Reply

    Kauai County takes 6 men for a 2 man job. (Like in the above photo)
    Kauai County does not have the work ethic like they used to have many years ago.
    This island truly was a paradise before. Now the workers just spend alot of time doing things that are not in the best interest of their jobs.
    It’s called Complacency.
    It’s time for competent management to get the jobs done efficiently.
    Does anyone agree with me?

    1. Rampartview January 19, 2020 5:13 pm Reply

      The staff shown had to go to school to learn to create the pot holes that exist today. Forget about an alignment, these are tire replacing holes. Your math is right on. The thought of 6 staff members half of them standing around should be embarrassing!

  5. truth be known January 19, 2020 4:46 pm Reply

    Blaine, I believe you hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately management is a major part of the problem. The “good ole’ boy” network is alive and well and there is no discernible effort to improve efficiency. Perhaps an outside consulting firm could shed some light on the problem and recommend ways to improve efficiency, beginning with replacing incompetent management. Maybe our “surf’s up” mayor could initiate the effort. Don’t hold your breath on that one. He’s part of the network.

  6. Richard Arakaki January 19, 2020 5:26 pm Reply

    Why are the roads to Koloa not important. It seems that way.Why do you only patch the road. Do you patch the road in Lihue or Kapaa. You make beautiful sidewalks in lihue but no new roads in Koloa. Koloa people pay taxes also.

  7. Kauai Traveler January 19, 2020 8:21 pm Reply

    New pukas, same places year after year. Why not drain the subsurface so the same places don’t fall apart a couple of months after the road is resurfaced? My dad did this kine work for years and they did it right the first time. At least I know where all the bad spots will always be between north shore and Kapaa. I just never know how deep or wide!

  8. terry January 20, 2020 4:30 pm Reply

    I recently had a road discussion with a person from Croatia. The roads there are as incredible as the roads in Germany. Why I asked? Because the Germans built them. So why are German and now Croatian roads so good. The answer was quite enlightening. The contract to build the roads includes a clause for maintaining the roads. So the contractor that build the road want them as perfect as possible so maintanence is barely necessary.
    On Kauai we bid out the roads for the lowest price from decent contractors. If we changed our contracts to a build/maintanence bid, we would pay more. But with the cost of new tires and new alignments we would be paying the same only with no aggravation.
    Let us rethink our bidding process and stop complaining about our county workers. They are given the lowest bid job and have to constantly band aid a low quality job.

  9. Shelly January 21, 2020 6:58 am Reply

    The potholes are a serious problem, driving at night on Koloa road -one may not see the pot hole until the last moment then try to avoid them and cross over the center line on the road- one can loose their life or injure another person seriously – then you add a tourist to that situation and even more dangerous.

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