I am beyond annoyed at road construction here in Hawai’i. Let me rephrase that, I’ve BEEN beyond annoyed at the construction. For the past year I have driven by such a gross mismanagement and waste of taxpayer funds that I must now rant. I cannot hold myself back any longer. I am Jack’s pent up all consuming road rage.
Hawai’i, the paradise that it is, is filled with its fair share of real world problems. It is my belief that the Hawaiian Department of Transportation’s brilliant planning takes the cake. They are notorious for their blunders on the intricacies of travel. They are public enemy numero uno.
First, understand this about Hawai’i(and more specifically, Honolulu), there is basically only one interstate highway that runs east and west across the island. This is known as the H-1. There is also the name challenged road of Kamehameha/Farrington/Nimitz, which is for the most part a series of parking lots with stoplights on a 35 MPH road. Now that you know this, we can begin.
For a year now, the Hawai’i DOT has been working on a section of the west bound H-1 at the Pearl City viaduct, which is…here:
Mind you, this section they are working on is only about a mile or two. I mean, it’s coned off for like 3 miles, but in reality they are only working on a stretch of road about a quarter of a mile. Every weeknight from 8pm until 5am they close off 3 lanes of traffic to do this work. And every night, I feel such anger and befuddlement rising up from within. The cones, the signs, the arrows telling me to merge right. When will it all go away? There appears to be no end in sight. I’m practicing some form of Zen Buddhism every night, I’m sure of it.
Please understand that I have no problem with Hawai’i maintaining its roads. But you have to have progress. Where is the payoff for all of this “hard work”? The road is just as shitty as it was before. When I drive on it during the weekends I notice nothing different. The small patches seem far too few for the amount of time being spent. Every night when I drive home from work, it looks like they are digging up the exact same patches they just repaired. What these guys are doing is practically criminal. The construction crews stand around looking at their fellow workers destroy the road, pretend to fix it, and then go home. It is just busy work to keep people employed from the way I see it.
To put things in perspective with regards to Hawaii’s ineptitude regarding road construction.
The H-3, a 15 mile long highway, was conceived(and government approved) in the 1960’s, started construction in 1983, and didn’t officially open until December of 1997. That’s 14 years of construction, not including planning. In contrast, the English Channel Tunnel, a 23 mile fucking underwater tunnel with a rail system connecting England to France with concepts dating back to 1802, was government approved in 1987, and completed in May of 1994. A whopping 7 years, half the time of the H-3.
So you would normally think, a quarter mile stretch of road wouldn’t take a year to repair, but it has, for some ungodly reason. I bring all of this up because traffic in Honolulu is already bad. It’s not Manila bad, but it’s still bad. Here is the average workday. Rush hour going to work starts at 5:30am and goes until roughly 9:30am. The rush hour drive home during the weekdays starts around 2:30pm and goes until about 7:00pm. Now when you take into consideration that this wonderful 3 lane closure starts at 8:00pm(sometimes a bit earlier), it means that traffic backs up nearly all fucking day and night. Like this…
This makes me want to just stay at a bar drinking until midnight every night instead of going home. Way to promote drunk driving Honolulu! It is ri-fucking-diculous how frustrating this mess is. And now, IT IS TAKING OVER THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY! Just last night I was going to pick up my roommate from work when I encountered a backup in traffic going EASTBOUND at 8:30pm on, yes, a fucking SUNDAY. A sign said two lanes closed ahead, as I crawled through traffic to see what was being worked on now, I was blown away by the fact that no construction was happening on the eastbound lanes. It was just where the construction crews were parking their cars, and had setup a couple of lights and generators to help the westbound construction.
They had plenty of room to place all of those items within the 3 lanes they had closed westbound! There was absolutely no legitimate reason to close 5 total lanes of traffic. Of course, after picking up my roommate and heading back westbound I had the pleasure of getting to sit in traffic going that direction now as well, at 9:00pm at night. You would think they would plan this out well right? You would think I should find a way to avoid this mess right? Well, since this is an island, with oh say one alternate route, there are many people have the same idea as you. That wonderfully named yet confused road I mentioned earlier gets quite packed as well. It can be just as slow going that way at times, so either way, you are pretty much screwed.
I’ve seen slow road construction, but nothing quite like this. Somebody is pocketing lots of money as a result of this government waste. These people care not one bit about getting things done efficiently and helping ease the commute for people that have been at work all day. I have heard all kinds of stories from my co-workers about how fucked up construction has been in the past as well. Does anybody think to question and audit the people doing the construction? Where is the oversight? There are plenty of actual potholes and rough patches to fix on the freeway. I drive over them every day. Yet for some reason those go on being ignored for years while I continue to sit in traffic watching a guy with a jackhammer laugh sadistically at me as he indiscriminately tears up the road.
One day this will end, and then of course another part of the freeway will need to be “fixed”.