Saturday, January 13, 2001
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Posted on: Saturday, January 13, 2001

Will frustration over roadwork never end?

We know they work hard and they are very good at what they do. But sometimes out of sheer frustration, we just have to ask: Don’t these people ever drive on our highways? Don’t they ever see what we see?

We’re referring to highway engineers and their cohorts at the state Department of Transportation. Without any attempt to be comprehensive, we offer these frustrations gleaned from a single issue of The Advertiser:

Headline on Page B3: "State to doll up its monstrosity’ again." The story is about that awful walled stretch of Kahekili Highway, completed in 1997, that clearly is more appropriate for one of the grittier sections of Los Angeles than the foot of the heart-stoppingly beautiful Pali in Kaneohe.

The story of how it came to be that way is enough to make you cry. "They wanted to keep the corridor narrow to avoid taking anybody’s home or back yard," said a DOT project manager. When traffic noise became an issue, the state decided to make the wall higher.

"When we did the planning, landscaping was a non-issue," he said.

Now, faced with the realization that they’ve created a monstrosity in a scenic paradise, the DOT finds itself limited to remedies like potted plants in the median.

Apparently safety was a non-issue, too, as that stretch has become a pedestrian’s no-man’s land and, as one neighborhood board member put it, "When you build something that looks like a freeway, you can’t blame people for driving like it’s a freeway."

It’s as if the Three Stooges had filmed a tragedy.

As East Honolulu residents are bracing themselves for another two-year construction nightmare on Kalanianaole Highway for water-main construction comes word The Gas Co. will be tearing up another section of Kalanianaole. The gas-line work began yesterday and will continue right up until the water-main work begins next month.

We get tired of asking: Does it ever occur to these folks to coordinate these efforts to reduce the torture to motorists?

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