State, Military Investigate Freeway Crash
by Minna Sugimoto
HONOLULU (KHNL) — Both the state and military are investigating the freeway crash, which severed the main traffic artery linking downtown Honolulu to Leeward and Central Oahu.
A freeway fiasco.
“It’s going to be a huge bill,” Scott Ishikawa, state Department of Transportation, said.
State officials expect the cost of the demolition alone to run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
“Usually where there’s an accident damaging state property, we do try to go after the person who was at fault,” Ishikawa said.
After crippling thousands of drivers, and leaving Aiea with half a bridge, the military says it’s sorry. In a written statement, an army spokesperson said, “We offer our regrets and apologies to all the residents of Oahu who were inconvenienced by this accident.”
That might not be enough. Witnesses reported seeing the Army excavator clipping other overhead signs and lighting fixtures before the final hit.
“We did take a look out there from the Pearl Harbor base out to Aiea,” Ishikawa said. “We did notice four overhead signs that were damaged.”
What’s more, it appears the military truck and excavator should never have been on the H-1 to begin with.
“We did check our permits record,” Ishikawa said. “We can not find a permit issued to them to haul that type of equipment.”
During the demolition, some frustrated west-bound drivers wondered why the wide-open east-bound side couldn’t spare a few lanes.
“To have a contra-flow on a freeway, you really need to put some kind of protective barrier like the zipper lane,” Ishikawa said. “You can not put orange cones and hope that people will not, you know, not get into head-on collisions. That’s just, that’s just an accident waiting to happen.”
Transportation officials say part of the permitting process involves recommending which route an oversized vehicle should take.
The state is still deciding whether to rebuild the Aiea walkway, or take it down completely.