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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 6, 2006

BUREAUCRACY BUSTER
Officially, it's just a warning

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Columnist

Q. Does the state Health Department really close beaches?

A. State Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said the state orders that signs be posted warning people about contaminated waters. And they make that decision after examining the bacteria levels present in the water that follow both sewage spills and urban runoff after storms. Officially, she said the state does not "close" a beach.

"We just issue warnings for beaches; we don't close them," she said.

Q. I have a question about the Wilson Tunnels on the Likelike Highway. Does the state inspect the tunnels to see if the water is being drained and not just sitting on top of the tunnels so that they could collapse?

A. The State Transportation Department does routine inspections of the Wilson Tunnels to check for water infiltration, spokesman Scott Ishikawa said. That's particularly the case recently, "since we're putting down the final touches of our tunnel improvements project and monitoring for roof leaks."

As part of that work, he said the state placed a polyurethane coating in the air shaft above the tunnel to prevent leaks and direct the water to the sides of the tunnels. The water is then diverted by pipes from the roof area to the improved floor drainage on the sides of the tunnels, rather than having the water drip from the ceiling onto the road surface.

Because of all the emergency work on the tunnels, Ishikawa said he's been inside the tunnels a lot recently and found the interior is much drier than before, even on rainy days.

Q. What happened to that roadwork that was supposed to happen in Waipahu? Was it canceled because of the rain?

A. It is scheduled to start today weather permitting, Ishikawa said. He said crews plan to begin construction on the project to resurface Farrington Highway through Waipahu Town.

The $5 million project will repave a 3.3-mile stretch of Farrington Highway between Kamehameha Highway and Old Fort Weaver Road in both directions, he said.

That means drivers should expect the closure of one lane along Farrington Highway between Old Fort Weaver Road and Leoku Street today and tomorrow during daytime hours.

If you have a question or a problem and need help getting to the right person, you can reach The Bureaucracy Buster one of three ways:

Write to:

The Bureaucracy Buster
The Honolulu Advertiser
605 Kapi'olani Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96813

E-mail: buster@honoluluadvertiser.com

Phone: 535-2454 and leave a message. Be sure to give us your name and daytime telephone number in case we need more information.