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Honolulu ranks 13th in nation for poor roads

By Marcel Honoré

LAST UPDATED: 10:38 a.m. HST, Feb 14, 2014

Honolulu's pothole-plagued roads have improved in recent years but local drivers still pay a heavy toll in car-repair costs to use them, a D.C.-based transportation research group found.

About 43 percent of the major roads in town are in poor condition, according to a report on the nation's roads released today by TRIP, an insurance company-sponsored nonprofit firm that looks at roads across the country and pushes for improvements. TRIP further found those conditions to cost motorists on average $598 each year in repairs. That's based on 2011 data.

TRIP first provided the Star-Advertiser the 2011 Honolulu figures in March, for the newspaper's "Road Woes" series on the city's aging motorways.

TRIP's national report reveals how Hawaii's capital city compares to the rest of the country.

Honolulu had the 13th-highest share of poor roads in the nation among cities with at least 500,000 people, the report found. Worst was a Southern California region composed of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana, at 64 percent. Second-worst was the San Francisco-Oakland area, in Northern California, at 60 percent.

According to the TRIP report, Honolulu improved relative to other U.S. cities. In 2008, it had the third-highest share of poor roads among U.S. cities with a population of at least 500,000. Only San Jose, Calif., and Los Angeles ranked worse.

At the time, about 62 percent of Honolulu's major streets had fallen into poor condition, and drivers paid an average of $701 each year in repairs, TRIP found.

The 2011 data for TRIP's report predate a campaign launched earlier this year by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell to repave 1,500 of the city's more than 3,500 lane-miles in five years.

"Some said we couldn't do it, but I'm pleased to report that we are ahead of schedule, setting a record pace of road repaving this year, and we will not stop until every city-owned road is fixed," Caldwell said in a news release today.

He did not provide an updated tally, but the city aims to pave 300 lane-miles in 2013.

The state Department of Transportation just launched a $42 million H-1 freeway repaving and rehabilitation project in the heart of town. Next year, it looks to repave Kalanianaole Highway and Kamehameha Highway in Central Oahu, according to DOT Director Glenn Okimoto.

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what wrote:
The people of Honolulu are being ripped off. We pay some of the highest gas taxes and yet the leadership of Honolulu manages to waste and squander our money so that we don't get the new roads we are already paying for. There's no excuse. And yet Caldwell is on or just got back from a trip from the mainland to visit with experts on how to squeeze taxpayers for even more taxpayers (he calls it "revenue enhancement"), because the river of money we are already sending his way is not enough for him. He wants more. The more you give, the more they waste. Enough already. Hey Caldwell, ever heard of cutting spending?
on October 3,2013 | 01:50AM
what wrote:
The City waste so much money that 20 percent of our tax revenues go to paying for debt instead of being used to pave potholes. And yet, Caldwell wants to create more debt so that more of our money gets wasted on debt servicing. He's like an Obama Jr. Too bad he doesn't have a printing press like Obama.
on October 3,2013 | 01:52AM
OldDiver wrote:
Maybe you should be complaining to Ann Kobayashi who refused Mayor Caldwell's plan for an accelerated road repair program but was more than willing to use the city's health insurance reserve fund to balance the budget. We've seen this story before and the ending isn't pretty.
on October 3,2013 | 06:25AM
localguy wrote:
Kobayashi is so busy kow towing to every special interest group she has forgotten how many bosses she has. And to think she wants more. Best she can do is just retire. She will not be missed.
on October 3,2013 | 06:54AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
It is so easy to blame one person for all the failings of our city and county over our roads. You are naive if you think it all falls on Kobayashi. And I am not a Kobayashi proponent. I am just stating the facts. There are a whole lot of factors involved in our roadway's conditions. It falls from the top to the bottom. It starts from the contractors to the legislators to the mayor to the unions. Complaining to one person is not going to solve our problem. It takes a concerted effort by all involved to get things done. This blame game does no good for the community. And the finger pointing that you encourage is not going to achieve anything.
on October 3,2013 | 11:41AM
Skyler wrote:
Great post. Roads that are made poorly aren't going to hold up. The blame goes waaaay beyond one person.
on October 3,2013 | 10:03PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Grace Pacific being a subsidiary of A&B would help.
on October 3,2013 | 11:11PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Please explain your moniker, as mine is really easy to understand: I live in Honolulu, Hawaii.
on October 3,2013 | 10:36PM
peanutgallery wrote:
For the amount of money Honolulu residents pay in vehicle registration fees, our roads should be paved in gold, but they're not. Our politicians dip their beaks every chance they get.
on October 3,2013 | 03:13AM
false wrote:
Didn't you know that the city's rails will be lined with gold leaf?
on October 3,2013 | 05:12AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
It's ultimately the Unions, which control the biggest portion of any budget: Labor.
on October 3,2013 | 11:13PM
Uncleart66 wrote:
Get angry........time to toss these bozo's.
on October 3,2013 | 03:26AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Who you going to toss out, the Mayor who has made fixing roads his top priority? Seems like the City is actually moving forward, putting actions into place. No, what we need to do is support those in the City who are fixing our roads. State of Hawaii, the H-1 fix is long over due, but how about those other State roads that need fixing like Kamehameha Highway in central Oahu?
on October 3,2013 | 07:03AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
I partly agree with you HawaiiCheeseBall but if we're going to do it, let's do it the right way. Ever since road repaving started, people have been asking a simple question. Why repave roads that don't need repaving? It's a waste of taxpayer money that can be used elsewhere. It's also a waste of manpower and material. We've never been given a direct answer to a very simple question. Why is that?
on October 3,2013 | 07:13AM
Skyler wrote:
It's a 'make-work' pacifier for the unions. The hard stuff isn't 'shovel ready.' Heck, it's not even 'chop-stick' ready. GP just got bought by A&B - maybe they can teach them how to lay a roadway foundation that will last for a change.
on October 3,2013 | 10:05PM
Aokuewa wrote:
why? you people keep putting the same types into office that want to spend everything on people who won't work. Hawaii has exactly the kind of roads it deserves!! Stop complaining, pay your taxes and mind your own business!!!
on October 3,2013 | 01:45PM
Skyler wrote:
For what we're paying in taxes & vehicle registration, I'd say we're getting screwed.
on October 3,2013 | 03:33AM
Wazdat wrote:
on October 3,2013 | 05:47AM
pakeheat wrote:
BIG Time, LOL.
on October 3,2013 | 07:56AM
Imagen wrote:
Tell that to Hawaiicheese
on October 3,2013 | 04:47PM
sandi2000 wrote:
As a former resident of Honolulu I was shocked that your auto registration hovers $300 annually considering the poor quality of roads you have to tolerate. Here in Austin the roads are excellent, and my auto registration is only $79 per year. People of Hawaii are very complacent; they keep electing the same people who seem to rarely change their poor ways.
on October 3,2013 | 04:31AM
localguy wrote:
When your only standard is "The Gutter" where else can you go? Our bureaucrats have no idea what goes on in the real world. Never leave the Nei, afraid they will fall off the edge of the earth, afraid of change. Controlled by the unions and special interest groups, they haven't got a clue what is going on.
on October 3,2013 | 06:56AM
syhud wrote:
Ha! C&C must be thinking. A thirteenth ranking? Hmmm not to shabby. At least we're not in the top five. So let us just continue our normal maintenance of roads. Nothing to see here, move along.
on October 3,2013 | 04:36AM
mikethenovice wrote:
I wonder how much worst than being number 13 is. Do those roads qualify as off road conditions. Bet they don't have a speeding problem with a moon crater size potholes?
on October 3,2013 | 04:44AM
richierich wrote:
I sold the BMW for an SUV because the roads are so very rough. I doubt there is much difference in the quality of roads from 1 to 13.
on October 3,2013 | 01:40PM
mikethenovice wrote:
This headline sound like the states are having a contest on who can become number in the worst road condition.
on October 3,2013 | 04:45AM
PMINZ wrote:
The poor procedure for fixing potholes in Honolulu is to just toss some tar mix into a pothole and drive away. This filler simply washes out at the next rainshower. Some fix! The shoddy patching does not attach to the area surrounding the hole. I have watched the "patching" procedure many time and am amazed but not surprised. Snce the money get siphoned off for other projects. (I.E. choo choo train comes to mind.)
on October 3,2013 | 04:49AM
Eagle156 wrote:
One of the roads in Windward Oahu with the worst collection of potholes has recently been patched and is now worse than ever. The former pot holes have become pot hills. Can't someone show the workers how to level out the repair work?
on October 3,2013 | 07:27AM
kiragirl wrote:
I do notice improvements but a lot more to go. From 3 to 13 is proof.
on October 3,2013 | 05:20AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
Yes, roads are really bad. However, I don't pay $2100 in 3 car repairs annually because of road conditions.
on October 3,2013 | 05:57AM
poipoo wrote:
I'm closer to $1200 right now, mainly cuz Costco has hallway decent tires and I don't need to replace them every year.
on October 3,2013 | 11:03AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
Lemme see now. I don't buy tires every year, and normal wear and tear and mileage also eats my tires. My front end alignment is fine. JMO, my repair costs due to potholes is.....zero.
on October 3,2013 | 02:29PM
Skyler wrote:
Maybe they had to replace their entire front-end like I did. That cost big $$$.
on October 3,2013 | 10:07PM
localguy wrote:
The days the survey was made it was pouring rain. This covered up the worst of the pot holes, the surveyors assumed all roads under the ponding water were perfect. Actually they ware afraid to step in, concerned they would fall in to a huge sink hole.
on October 3,2013 | 07:00AM
localguy wrote:
We're #1. We're #1. Yes, thanks to our dysfunctional bureaucrats we are the best with the worst roads. Where is that photo op of our "Street Repairing Mayor" doing our world famous "Shovel Slop" road repair standard? The ones that come out within days of application but keep union members on the dole. Our DOT still can't explain why other countries have roads light years ahead of ours with worse weather conditions. Clearly the contractor has us falsely believing they are laying down a quality product which only lasts a few years before degrading to gravel in the gutters. Well, at least we know our limitations, a little banana boat republic with basically dirt roads as the standard.
on October 3,2013 | 06:52AM
McCully wrote:
This is third world Hawaii. Do you expect anything more? If you want anything done, Vote them out!!!!
on October 3,2013 | 06:55AM
OregonRedRaider wrote:
I recall paying close to $400 (per year) to have my SUV registered before I shipped it here to Oregon. now I pay $150 for TWO years...and the roads up here is way better. I don't have to get an alinement every six months now.
on October 3,2013 | 07:06AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
I thought we were in the top 5!! I posed the following question to my district senator. WHY ARE THEY REPAVING STREETS THAT DON'T NEED IT? Simple question. It's a waste of money and resources but my question was forwarded to the DOT so I'm not expecting an answer anytime soon. The answer I've heard is more an excuse or round around answer so I gotta think there's something fishy going on with contracts.
on October 3,2013 | 07:09AM
false wrote:
ONLY 13th ? ? ? ? ? There must be some really bad 3rd world countries out there.
on October 3,2013 | 07:39AM
lowtone123 wrote:
Only 13th!!! Could've fooled me.
on October 3,2013 | 08:01AM
mcc wrote:
Money spent on a train that nobody will ride rather than our roads that everybody drives on, water everybody drinks and waste water everyone creates. Poor planning and crooked politicians.
on October 3,2013 | 08:06AM
Jonas wrote:
Hey mcc, maybe this is incentive for you to ride the train instead of driving. It's a plan to make citizens like yourself take the train that no one (except for people who are sick of the road conditions) will ride.
on October 3,2013 | 10:23AM
jankenpo wrote:
That's why the State stopped the zipper lane plan going west bound for pau hana traffic. They want people to be stuck in traffic in order to promote rail usage. Besides, they figure that going home.....who cares how long it takes. Hence, no westbound zipper lane to help the flow.
on October 3,2013 | 11:50AM
geralddeheer wrote:
Mayor Caldwell: Come up with a plan to make our roads and our road maintenance system the best in the country. Spell out exactly how much it will cost. Have the entire system audited to ensure the work is conducted efficiently, effectively, and that all contracts issued are executed without political favoritism. What would Mayor Fasi do?
on October 3,2013 | 08:13AM
Ewaduffer wrote:
Recently had a visitor from San Francisco who commented on how good the condition of our Oahu roads is. I almost fainted at the wheel.
on October 3,2013 | 08:45AM
poipoo wrote:
You must've driven them only on H3 -- a Federally-funded highway.
on October 3,2013 | 11:12AM
loio wrote:
check out Waialae Ave, between the Goodyear location and Big City Diner. it's not third world, it's fourth world, and it's been that way for a long time now. maybe if they rename the street Daniel Inouye Democrat Ave. someone will be willing to spend money to do SOMETHING about it.
on October 3,2013 | 09:02AM
Jonas wrote:
loio, you are right. I just hope they do the construction at night instead of in the middle of the day like they are doing on Waialae between Koko Head and 14th. And they are taking forever and a day to finish that!
on October 3,2013 | 10:25AM
Imagen wrote:
Drive on Manoa Road and there are hazardous conditions there too. Doesn't your Mayor and Koyabashi live in Manoa? The horrid roads I am referring to are going into the valley on Manoa Road, beginning from the 4-way stop, and then it gets progressinvely worse. Maybe Kirkie and Annie live in the "older" more prestigious part that is closer to Punahou? That is the reason for the neglect - they don't go that far in so this really does not affect them.
on October 3,2013 | 04:53PM
Ewasohappy wrote:
Once the rail is up and running, no need to waste money on the highways.
on October 3,2013 | 09:18AM
poipoo wrote:
Horse hockey.
on October 3,2013 | 11:13AM
PMINZ wrote:
The choo choo won't go the direction I will need to travel - Usless
on October 3,2013 | 12:13PM
lowtone123 wrote:
There won't be any money left
on October 3,2013 | 01:05PM
poipoo wrote:
Practically first in taxes, MV registration, and cr@ppy roads... We're number #1! We're #1!
on October 3,2013 | 11:00AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
IRT poipoo,almost first in taxes @ 4.712%, when some states are double-digit taxes? Really? You just wanted to fell worse.
on October 3,2013 | 02:12PM
what wrote:
I can't believe there's still people who don't know the difference between an excise tax and a sales tax. An excise tax is 2 to 3 times worse than a sales tax. Hawaii's 4.x excise tax is the same as a double digit sales tax.. Babooze!
on October 3,2013 | 02:32PM
Wazdat wrote:
YUP. Most people DO NOT UNDERSTAND that Hawaii's GET would be over 10% if it was a sales tax.
on October 3,2013 | 08:03PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
IRThat, not everybody know what you know. I imagine you're a Baboose in certain aspects of your life, as is everyone. Hey, but if your pathetic life gets happy by denigrating others, go for it.
on October 3,2013 | 09:52PM
Skyler wrote:
You were wrong. Get over it. And you just called them a babooze, so enuf of the fake humility already.
on October 3,2013 | 10:12PM
what wrote:
Sorry. I hate taxes so much I get a bit frustrated that so many people don't know how bad our excise tax is. It's a conspiracy by Hawaii government to take advantage of what people don't know.
on October 3,2013 | 10:13PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
You wouldn't notice that if you drove through Kailua. Their roads are impeccable. Tells you something about politics takes a great role in road conditions.
on October 3,2013 | 11:36AM
localguy wrote:
Not all the roads in KaIua. I've driven on some in Kailua that would qualify for a military grade off road training area.
on October 3,2013 | 07:44PM
Skyler wrote:
They just paved a whole bunch because it's coming up on election year, or didn't you know? Ikaika Anderson's running for Congress.
on October 3,2013 | 10:14PM
iwanaknow wrote:
the potholes are left there to make you slow down................
on October 3,2013 | 02:29PM
sailfish1 wrote:
The real problem is that the City and State people don't know how to fix roads. What they fix is only good until the next big rain. Do they care to find out how to properly fix road? NO! They have job security doing the same fixes over and over.
on October 3,2013 | 03:35PM
Imagen wrote:
If Hawaii is ranked 13th, I would hate to see what the other 12 look like because our roads are simply horrid. Even after they fix them. Poor workmanship, poor planning and sub-par materials. Aaaahhhhh....Typical for Hawaii don't you think?
on October 3,2013 | 04:15PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Nothing new here folks, just move along please.
on October 3,2013 | 04:33PM
false wrote:
Hey, not fair. We deserve to be in the top ten but Hawaii never gets any respect.
on October 3,2013 | 06:28PM
kalanikaau wrote:
Don't report on something we already know ! It must be a terribly slow newsday, perhaps your efforts should be focused on this dysfunctional website ???
on October 3,2013 | 07:46PM
Aquarius1 wrote:
Mufi promised to fix the potholes. After a brief showing, nothing more happened. Same thing with Caldwell. All act and no substance. What the heck is our very high vehicle registration fee going towards?
on October 3,2013 | 09:30PM
Skyler wrote:
Those big signs that say, "Your Tax Dollars At Work - Mayor Caldwell, City & County of Honolulu"
on October 3,2013 | 10:15PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Hawaii could invite NASA to do their moon crater training on our pothole ridden roads.
on October 3,2013 | 10:17PM