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Repairs will create traffic mess in Aiea

By Mary Vorsino


Drivers beware: All freeway ramps to and from Aiea will be closed tonight through early Friday so crews can reattach a 5-ton, 35-foot-long section of a pedestrian overpass sheared off by an oversize load on a truck trailer last month.

While the closure is not during peak travel times, officials are still warning drivers to plan — and prepare for heavy traffic.

"It's a big closure," said Caro­line Sluy­ter, spokes­woman for the Department of Transportation.

The good news is officials don't believe they'll need another major closure to complete the overpass reconstruction work. The closure today begins at 9 p.m. and runs through 4 a.m. Friday.

Two exits to Aiea on the H-1 freeway will be closed, along with all ramps to and from Aiea on Moana­lua Freeway.

On Friday and Saturday crews will close Moana­lua Road at Aiea Elementary School to install steel railings and do other work.

Other intermittent closures may be needed.

The overpass is primarily used by Aiea Elementary schoolchildren and, when there are football games at Aloha Stadium, by hundreds of fans who park at the school and in the neighboring community.

The DOT hopes to reopen the overpass by Nov. 6.

That's in time for the Nov. 10 University of Hawaii football game at Aloha Stadium against Boise State.

Aiea Elementary School Principal Kate O'Malley said about 30 of her students use the overpass daily.

They have had to be bused to school and back home again since Oct. 18, when a forklift being hauled by a Tibbits Trucking dump truck slammed into the pedestrian bridge.

The incident occurred shortly before school let out.

The 5-ton segment landed on the truck trailer, cushioning its fall, so it was able to be reused, Sluy­ter said.

During the closure tonight, crews will use a crane to lift the segment back into place and then will secure it using reinforcements.

Sluyter said the operation is "going to take some skill."

She added, "We just want to reassure the public that our bridge engineers did inspect it and found that it was structurally sound."

The initial estimate for the reconstruction work was between $200,000 and $300,000.

Tibbits Trucking will have to cover the cost of repairs, and also faces a fine for failing to obtain a permit to haul an oversize load.

Bill Clark, chairman of the Aiea Neighborhood Board, said he's thankful the closure tonight will wrap up at 4 a.m. Friday.

While he expects the work is "going to cause some problems" for those on the road, he doesn't anticipate a major traffic jam.

Meanwhile, football fans hope the reopening of the overpass is on schedule so it will be available Nov. 10.

About 200 members of Na Koa Football Club park at Aiea Elementary use the overpass when there are football games at the stadium.

Dozens more fans park in the surrounding community.

The overpass "takes you directly into the stadium," said Joyce Lau, membership and events coordinator at Na Koa.

The club charges members $150 a season to park at Aiea Elementary, which receives rental fees for use of school property.


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false wrote:
This seems like a coordinated plot to make drivers mad. As a result people will be more inclined to vote for a pro-rail mayor. This stinks to high heaven. Maybe the FBI should investigate the emails and phone records of all the officials involved.
on November 1,2012 | 03:07AM
ukuleleblue wrote:
Rail would have gotten many people home faster bypassing the traffic jam.
on November 1,2012 | 07:14AM
CouchPotato wrote:
Same thing ... a garbage truck accident gridlocks the hightway. A power outage will gridlock the Rail. New York City is gridlocked.
on November 1,2012 | 07:41AM
Imagen wrote:
Soooo very sorry UB, but rail would do nothing to help this situation. Notice the timing of the repairs? Between 9pm and 4am, the trolley cars would not be running. Try and change your rhetoric or join in on "false's" conspiracy theories...they make for a much better and lighter morning read.
on November 1,2012 | 11:07AM
what wrote:
The rail does not run at night. The repairs are being done at night. ukulele, next your going to tell me that rail cures cancer!
on November 1,2012 | 11:35AM
kauai wrote:
Heh, haven't ya' heard? They're workin' on that one too. They're just tryin' to find the proper phraseology and justification. Stay tuned, yuk, yuk. Sorry, jus' HAD to comment.
on November 1,2012 | 02:32PM
NITRO08 wrote:
The city is warning everyone so why are you mad? The walk way needs to be repaired so why all the grumbling? Boy so many cry baby's!
on November 1,2012 | 12:26PM
Rapanui00 wrote:
I totally agree - demand a investigation now!
on November 1,2012 | 04:56AM
Mana07 wrote:
We live in the most corrupt state in the nation...
on November 1,2012 | 05:21AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
As long as they stick to the 9PM to 4AM schedule, what's the big deal? It's good they will do the repair at night - makes the job harder but helps reduce the impact on traffic.
on November 1,2012 | 07:21AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Yea those that go to the UH game now have a convenient place to commit suicide after watching a UH football game.
on November 1,2012 | 07:58AM
kennie1933 wrote:
Haha! Yup....HPD better be on the lookout before half-time!
on November 1,2012 | 08:17AM
Imagen wrote:
Ahahahahahaaaa... Touche' loq!
on November 1,2012 | 11:08AM
allie wrote:
Tax payers shopuld nto apy for this. Hope trucking company that did this is paying
on November 1,2012 | 08:20AM
Imagen wrote:
Okay Miss allie - please READ the article and this time in English. Tibbits, the owner of the truck is footing the bill. English translation of "footing"; aka paying for...
on November 1,2012 | 11:09AM
AmbienDaze wrote:
footing mean something else in the mandan language, hon.
on November 1,2012 | 03:04PM
kennie1933 wrote:
I like how SA tries for the most negative headline. They COULD have stated it as "Bridge Repair Time to Minimize Inconvenience"
on November 1,2012 | 08:20AM
Do_you_know_SHATA wrote:
It took one weekend to repair a freeway section in LA (carmegeddon) last month. It's taking 4 days to repair a 35 foot section on a walk bridge. Too Funny! Somebody is getting PAAAIIIID.
on November 1,2012 | 11:24AM
kennie1933 wrote:
I was watching one of those Japanese shows on KIKU and there was a story about a Japanese crew whose job was to put up an entire new 600-foot prefabricated overpass for a new train line. The challenge was to put it up after the last train ran that evening (11 p.m.) but before the first train ran the next day (6 a.m.). True, it took a crew of 300 men, but it was done with time to spare for testing.
on November 1,2012 | 06:19PM
hanoz808 wrote:
i live in kapolei and i still dont think we need rail. i just hung out at my friends house till 7:30 and went home traffic free. didnt bother me at all
on November 1,2012 | 01:21PM
kauai wrote:
Hallelujah! A person who is both flexible and employs critical thinking skills. Many others should take a lesson from hanoz808; observe, pay attention and adapt. Good job buddy!
on November 1,2012 | 02:39PM
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