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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 14, 2006

Repaired H-1 overpass set to reopen tomorrow

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Staff Writer

Transportation officials plan to reopen a pedestrian walkway over the H-1 Freeway tomorrow, a little more than three months after it was destroyed in a gridlock-causing accident that's become known as the Black Tuesday traffic nightmare.

A new portion of the Mahiko Street overpass in 'Aiea passed final inspection yesterday and will be opened for foot and bike traffic as soon as workers can remove a chain-link fence that has barred access to it since Sept. 5, when it was struck and damaged by a large backhoe being carried on an Army trailer, said Transportation Department spokesman Scott Ishikawa.

"We're just putting the finishing touch-ups," Ishikawa said yesterday.

The mauka portion of the overpass, built in the 1970s, was damaged beyond repair in the accident, forcing transportation officials to shut the entire westbound H-1 Freeway for more than 12 hours, resulting in one of the largest traffic messes in Ho-nolulu's history.

Ishikawa said the Transportation Department has spent more than $500,000 in emergency funds to have the old structure torn down and replaced. Final costs of the project are still being totaled, he said.

Earlier this month, a crew from Hawaiian Dredging lowered a new precast, 80-foot-long, 120,000-pound concrete walkway onto the overpass supports. DOT engineers worked hard to get the project finished by tomorrow to minimize traffic impact during the busy holiday shopping season, Ishikawa said.

The Army has acknowledged responsibility for the incident and has agreed to repay the state for any costs incurred.

Reach Mike Leidemann at mleidemann@honoluluadvertiser.com.