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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, December 14, 2001

More 'ugly' skybuster signs planned

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O‘ahu Writer

Kane'ohe — The Windward side of Likelike Highway and H-3 will receive five more overhead destination signs like the one that is generating complaints after its installation this week on Kahekili Highway.

Two new structures are slated for Likelike and three for H-3 in the coming days and weeks, and the old signs and support structures will be taken down, said Martin Okabe, of the state Department of Transportation.

The new support structures were three years in the making, and Okabe said yesterday he doesn't understand why residents are complaining because they are what the community wanted. The work stems from an outcry over the size and design of the original signs and support structure erected in 1998, said Okabe. The state, with input from the community, redesigned the structure that holds the signs, Okabe said.

The result is what is being installed beginning this week. But the complaint about the new structures is the same as it was about the old ones: They block views of the mountains.

"We told them (residents) what the new ones would look like," Okabe said. "This was all worked out in advance, so why there's a big uproar, I don't know."

The signs themselves are the same size, Okabe said, but now instead of a solid frame, the signs are attached to an open frame, allowing people to see through it. The replacement structures stretch all the way across the highway, while the originals cantilevered above two lanes. Still, Okabe said, "The (new) structure is smaller."

Critics complained this week that the structure and signs were bigger than necessary and contributed to the "ugly-fication" of Windward O'ahu.

Residents also said they did not agree to replacing the sign on Kahekili with the new support structure.

Among a handful of e-mails received at The Advertiser, those opposing the new structure and signs outnumbered those supporting it.

Lloyd Ignacio said the signs are necessary and, anyway, people shouldn't be looking at the view while driving.

Alicia Enos said the DOT is not only ruining views on the Windward side. She complained about other DOT projects, including the installation of lights on H-1 in Wai'alae and all the "no parking" signs on Kamehameha Highway from Hawai'i Kai to Sea Life Park.

"Whoever is in charge of our roadways needs a long class in esthetics," Enos said.

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com or 234-5266.