I would like to acknowledge the state Department of Transportation Highways Division for its outstanding performance in: 1) repaving the roads under its jurisdiction on Kauai and 2) restoring the road on the North Shore damaged by the 2018 flood.
From 2015 to today, the DOT has resurfaced almost 40 miles out of some 100-plus miles of road that it owns. These roads include major stretches of Kaumuali‘i, Kapule and Kuhio highways, on which thousands of us drive daily, as well as major connector roads such as Ahukini and Nawiliwili roads.
Resurfacing over one-third of its road inventory in five years is great preventive maintenance. The DOT is saving taxpayers lots of money. Additionally, it is giving users a better experience on the road and less wear and tear on our vehicles. I have also noticed that when the DOT resurfaces a stretch of road, it also makes improvements, where feasible, such as widening the shoulders for bikes and pedestrians, re-grassing the adjacent cuts to better stabilize them and prevent landslides, and installing brighter road reflectors that make night driving safer.
In the last two years, the DOT did its exemplary maintenance in the midst of the herculean challenge of restoring the stretch of Kuhio Highway destroyed by the 2018 flood. As a councilmember back then, I had the opportunity to view the damage, which was unimaginable — the makai lane of Kuhio Highway leading to Wainiha Bay had collapsed into the ocean below, and there were many landslides blocking the road between Waipa and Ke‘e.
When the road opened this past summer, I was awestruck by the phenomenal restoration that had occurred.
Both projects required financial, political and logistical support. Thanks are due to the elected leaders who provided funding for both projects, and with respect to the North Shore road restoration, the support agencies and community members whose kokua was pivotal.
Most of all, I want to thank the DOT, its employees, its contractors and their employees who did the work “on the ground” and got both jobs done — specifically, Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen; Kauai District Engineer Larry Dill; all the DOT employees on Kauai and in Honolulu who worked on the projects; the contractors and subcontractors; engineers and consultants, equipment operators, employees and workers of all the companies involved in both projects.
Mahalo to all of you for doing an awesome job!
JoAnn Yukimura is a former mayor and former councilmember of Kauai, and a Lihue resident.
Source: The Garden Island