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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, September 9, 2006

Taller fences erected around 'Aiea overpass

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Staff Writer

Department of Transportation crews yesterday built new, higher fences around a damaged freeway overpass and asked parents to keep children away from the structure.

"We saw a couple of kids trying to climb the railing onto the overpass and decided to take action quickly," Transportation Department spokesman Scott Ishikawa said.

Part of the pedestrian overpass near 'Aiea was torn down this week after it was hit and damaged by an oversized military truck. That accident forced the closing of the freeway for 13 hours and caused a massive traffic jam that spread across much of the island.

Ishikawa said the department has asked parents and officials at nearby schools to monitor access to the overpass until safety restrictions could be put in place. Off-duty police officers were hired to keep students off the structure, he said.

The state plans to replace the pedestrian overpass that runs across the freeway between two public schools. Tearing down the damaged structure and replacing it with a new 80-foot span likely will cost at least $650,000, state Transportation director Rod Haraga said.

The state hopes to have the pedestrian overpass operational again by the end of this year, Haraga said.

Reach Mike Leidemann at mleidemann@honoluluadvertiser.com.