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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Hit the road, and roadwork eventually hits back

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Staff Writer

Sometimes here at Drive Time we like to go looking for trouble. So when several friends and staffers grumbled last week that roadwork seemed more annoying than usual, we couldn't resist a road trip.

"It just seems like you can't go anywhere without getting stuck right now," was the way one friend put it.

Those are fighting words. After soliciting advice and consulting the roadwork list on this page, we set out one afternoon in the official 1990 Honda Civic Drive Time car without radio or air conditioning to find the worst of the worst.

Here's our report:

2:05 p.m.: Arrive in Kaimuki, where we heard there's a confluence of water-main, sidewalk, repaving and sewer projects. Get stuck for 20 seconds on Sierra Drive, where one lane of traffic is closed briefly for sewer work. Zoom by the sidewalk and paving projects on Wai'alae Avenue without delay and head for freeway. Conclude that report of Kaimuki traffic congestion is exaggerated.

2:12: Arrive at Ka'aha Street and back-roads M¿'ili'ili, where the city says a major sewer and paving project is under way. No sign of work. Either finished or not started. Either way, no problem.

2:20: After a 7-Eleven stop for a giant Slurpee, head for Manoa, where a paving project has reportedly shut down University Avenue. It's true. We're detoured to O'ahu Road, where we flash through the rest of Manoa in just two minutes.

2:22: Drive to the end of valley just for beauty of it. Decide to head home and write column about how bad traffic isn't.

2:34: Daydreaming about lifestyle of big homeowners on East Manoa Road when stopped cold by big tie-up at Punahou and Nehoa streets.

2:36: Advance six car lengths.

2:37: Remark how beautiful fresh blacktop looks, especially with brand-new yellow lines.

2:38: Let three cars enter lineup from Dominis Street. Good deed for day.

2:39: Still stuck. Admire night-blooming cereus plants on rock wall of Punahou School that can't be noticed at 35 mph. Remember the Roman playwright Plautus, who said: "Patience is the best remedy for every trouble."

2:40: Guy in gold Infiniti squeezes into line from right without even a little thank-you wave. Give him stink-eye.

2:42: Notice that condo called Pleasanton has lovely lanai, big parking lot and great view of traffic jam.

2:44: Advance four car lengths. Watch kid on electric bike whiz by. (Note to self: Check stock prices on those things.)

2:45: Reach corner of Punahou and Wilder streets. Decide not to run red light with police officer watching.

2:47: Get stuck anyway in middle of intersection. Get stink-eye from other drivers.

2:48: Leaf blows in window. Curse lack of air conditioning.

2:49: Traffic jumps forward 50 feet. Feeling cocky. Decide to bypass freeway on-ramp and continue into congestion.

2:53: See "End Roadwork" sign. Wonder whether that's a declarative or imperative sentence.

3:05: Arrive back in office after another bout with stop-and-go traffic on Beretania Street. Vow not to go looking for trouble again. It will find you soon enough.

Mike Leidemann's Drive Time column appears every Tuesday. Reach him at 525-5460 or mleidemann@ honoluluadvertiser.com.