comscore First comes rain, then potholes
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First comes rain, then potholes

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    Heavy rain and flooding Monday created a 4-foot-wide sinkhole on Oahu Avenue in Manoa. The city patched 135 potholes Tuesday.

City crews have been busier than usual fixing potholes produced by the recent heavy rain.

On Tuesday, the city Department of Facility Maintenance patched 135 potholes, using about 4.6 tons of hot mix asphalt, said city spokesman Johnny Brannon.

On a typical day, crews patch about 70 to 80 potholes, using up to 2.5 tons of asphalt.

"It happens after every large rain event," said Tyler Sugihara, chief of the city road maintenance division. "We haven’t had a rain like this in some time. But (yesterday) was a really nice day, with some nice blue skies. It’s a good time to patch potholes."


To report a pothole in a city street that needs repair, go to and fill out the "pothole request form." You may also report a pothole by calling the pothole report hot line at 808-768-7777.

The city has a crew of three people repairing potholes every day, from Halawa Stream to Hawaii Kai. Depending on reports received, the rural districts would have one or two crews patching potholes. That could be up to nine people on any given day.

For the past two days, two urban crews and five rural crews, or about 21 workers, have been sent out. The city usually repairs more than 60,000 potholes in a year.

Potholes form when water seeps into surface cracks, causing a void below the street level and creating soft spots in the asphalt. As vehicles travel over them and add stress, the asphalt gets pulled out.

"There were a number of roads we were looking to resurface," Sugihara said. "Sure enough, that’s where a lot of the potholes came up."

Parts of Oahu Avenue in Manoa were resurfaced and were not affected by the rain, but areas that weren’t resurfaced had potholes appear, Sugihara said. Several opened up along Beretania and Punchbowl streets, and in the Salt Lake area as well.

City Department of Design and Construction officials said they have received no complaints about roads treated with the Slurry Seal compound, applied on certain roads as part of a city pilot preventative maintenance project.

The compound is used to extend the life of aging pavement. City officials have said Slurry Seal costs $36,000 per lane mile, while traditional paving methods cost about $130,000 for the same length of road.

Sugihara said the compound has been used on mainland roads that weren’t resurfaced for three to five years. In Honolulu, it is used on roads that haven’t seen resurfacing for up to a decade.

Drivers who spot potholes are urged to contact the city, Sugihara said.

"We do ask for the public’s patience and kokua as we patch up potholes," he said. "Hopefully, they understand that we’re trying to prevent larger potholes, which may be dangerous for the traveling public."


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