Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Doing road repairs the right way

by Larry Geller

Our condo budgets for repairs of its private road every few years. Unlike the City and County of Honolulu, they do a proper job of it. No shoveling warm asphalt in the hole and stamp down with slippas.

So yes, it’s possible to do perfectly flat, long-lasting road repairs. Here’s the result, shot yesterday.

To make the repairs, a section of road is cut out around the defect in a rectangular shape. That is then filled and the surface is carefully finished off. The resulting repair is not only flat, it’s long-lasting.

It can be done. Fixing roads properly is not rocket science.


I'll take a wild guess and state that your condo's objectives do not include maximizing employment of union labor. In the island economy, the goal is not to do the job expeditiously and at least cost; it is to employ the most people for the longest time at the highest possible age levels.

Actually, while I don't know how the city goes about contracting for road repairs, I would guess that the lowest bidder won again.

No, I didn't research how the city does it. That would be another story, certainly worth doing.


I've found the "lowest bidder" meme almost impenetrable when one factors in change orders. If one were of a conspiratorial mind set, one could almost argue that some, maybe more than some, of the lowest bids were designed to get the job then jack the cost. But hey, that's just my perception and I could be wrong.

Several years ago, a 5-mile stretch of highway was resurfaced between Hilo and Keaau. There were long traffic delays on this, the only road between Hilo and points South and West. When it was finally finished, 6 months or more, it was discovered that the contractor had used inferior asphalt and the project began again! Still shaking my head!

Funny Brah, you get plenty traffic on your condo road? Beeg trucks, buses, overloaded everykine vehicles? Tens of thousands of cars a week goin bumping across your Condo road? You guys doin repairs on sand based foundation on some roads goin back 100 years? Makes me want to take of my flip flop and whack you upside your head with it. A gazillion miles of anykine roads, never enough budget, everybody is pavement expert. Howabout you get one shovel and come show the City guys how to do "job right." And then again maybe couple hundred times a day. Patching roads put down decades ago by "low bidders" back then. When NO ONE had any idea how crazy busy this place would be one day.
Come volunteer with us for a week. Cut a nice square hole in asphalt and we will wipe tire tracks of angry drivers off your back. Get moving only 96 more holes to patch today after rain. "Whacketty whack" says slippa. Condo talk is cheap. Lemme make some laps with some cement and garbage trucks on your pretty circle in the rain.... Silly boy!


Part of Pali Hwy was paved by skinning asphalt over the existing road (same scenario elsewhere, of course). It didn't take long for the cheap remedy to begin to crack and crumble.

I've spoken to those who know. Sure, there is less traffic on this small private road. But compare apples to apples. Other cities can do it right (and some can't). From the mouth of a professional to me, Honolulu has some of the worst road maintenance he had seen.

Also, I lived in Tokyo. They have lots of sun, in season, and lots of rain. They have more traffic than Honolulu does. They have trucks, and so on. Yet not only were the roads in near perfect condition, but they can keep white paint on the intersections 100% of the time.

I've seen potholes patched in Tokyo. They don't do it like we do. And the repairs are flat, and seemed to be as good as the original road.

As to me getting a shovel, that's the problem. We need better road maintenance, not me with a shovel.


Maybe we just need to buy another one of those automatic pot hole machines. It worked so well last time.

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