Think About It: Infrastructure Rupture - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

July 10, 2014

Think About It: Infrastructure Rupture

A broken water main disrupted traffic last week on Dillingham Boulevard. Not too many weeks go by where we don't hear about yet another broken line on Kapiolani, Ala Moana, in Kailua, or elsewhere. The pipe on Dillingham was installed three years before World War II; that's 76-years ago. So it really shouldn't come as a surprise when we hear of infrastructures breaking down. The question becomes- where should attention go, and what can and should be fixed before it becomes a serious problem- like bad bridges, or weakened overpasses, decrepit sewer lines, or tenuous telephone poles?

The cost to pro-actively update the infrastructure throughout our state is obviously prohibitive. And surely people in charge of services do check things out from time to time, we hope. But knowing just how bad the infrastructure is in this country in general, it would be nice to find some of the about-to-become-an issue issues before they cause serious disruption or harm. Repairing water main breaks over and over reminds me of the Hans Brinker tale of the boy who put his finger in the dike to forestall disaster until villagers came by to make repairs the next day.  In reality, you can't stand there forever plugging holes before the whole dam breaks, and you can't depend on Hans Brinker always showing up in time before infrastructure issues cause chaos.

A report last year stated that Hawaii was one of 15 states that saw its number of structurally deficient bridges increase over the previous three years. 13% of Hawaii's bridges were deemed deficient in the 2013 report- that's 152 bridges here in need of some work. Federal funds are possibly available to help offset repairs costs. So what's being done this week to keep that number of troublesome bridges from growing, and have the really bad bridges here been identified with absolute repair dates set? This might be a good question to ask aspiring candidates- a workable action plan, not just a promise- before we possibly find ourselves under water… literally. Think about it…

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