Get ready for massive downtown repaving
By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer
By Mary Vorsino
The city will repave six busy Downtown Honolulu streets — including Beretania Street and Ke'eaumoku Street — in separate multimillion-dollar projects this year, and some area residents are concerned the roadwork will put too much stress on rush-hour traffic.
Phases of the repaving expected to get under way this year will coincide with a two-year, $32 million sewer and water-line replacement project on Kapi'olani Boulevard set to start in September. During the sewer work, one lane of Kapi'olani Boulevard will be shut down in each direction as needed between Kamake'e and Kalakaua.
"We've got the two downtown projects, plus we've got the Kapi'olani project," said Lynne Matusow, vice chairwoman of the Downtown Neighborhood Board. "It's just too much at one time. How are people going to get around?"
Marvin Char, chief of the civil division at the city Department of Design and Construction, said some of the work will be done at night or in phases. Also, planning and permitting officials will evaluate the impact of projects on city streets and plan accordingly, he said.
"Every project is required to provide a traffic-control plan that is reviewed by city agencies," he said. "They look at the individual project and the big picture."
The start date of the five-street repaving project has not yet been set. The project's low bid, which came in last week, was $9.9 million — nearly $4 million more than what the city estimated the project would cost.
Char said the increased costs are likely because of skyrocketing prices for petroleum, which makes asphalt, and a high demand for construction work statewide.
The five streets to be "rehabilitated" — a process of shaving down the street to repave it — are South, Sheridan, Rycroft and Ke'eaumoku streets and University Avenue. The work also will include installation of crosswalk ramps and concrete bus pads.
A project to repave Beretania Street had been scheduled to start this month but was put on hold after contractor GMP Hawaii protested the awarding of a consultant bid to SSFM International Inc. It is unclear how long it will take to resolve the issue, Char said.
The Beretania Street repaving will stretch from Alapa'i to North King streets, said Amy Hirano, president of Pacific Management Consultants, a subcontractor to SSFM, adding that some work will be done at night.
The project is expected to take a year to complete and cost about $10 million.
Tom Smyth, Downtown Neighborhood Board chairman, said the work along Beretania Street will inconvenience people — but is long overdue.
Former Mayor Jeremy Harris gave the project a go-ahead during his administration, but it was put on hold when Mayor Mufi Hannemann took office. It was given a second green light under Hannemann about a year ago.
Reach Mary Vorsino at email@example.com.
Correction: A previous version of this story contained incorrect information. The report should have said: Lane closures on Kapi'olani Boulevard will occur as needed not necessarily for 24-hour stretches between Kamake'e and Kalakaua. In addition, the project completion date is July 2008, not March 2009, Beretania Street repaving will cost about $10 million, not $6 million and a consultant bid under dispute was awarded to SSFM International Inc., not Pacific Management Consultants, which is a subcontractor to SSFM.