On Wednesday, September 24, 2014, ITE Hawaii held their Section Meeting at the Kapolei State Building. Western District Secretary-Treasurer Cathy Leong announced that there is currently an RFP out to overhaul the Western District website for $10,000, if anyone is interested go to westernite.org. President Pete Pascua informed everyone that we are looking for ideas for speakers and events such as field trips and happy hour. If anyone has any suggestions please let any of the officers know.
Vice President Natasha Soriano introduced speaker Ross Hironaka from the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation to talk about the H-1 Rehabilitation Project. Ross spoke about his background, and how he’s been with the DOT for almost 27 years, 22 of which he has been a Project Manager. He explained that because this project was so large and unique, a design consultant was hired, but he was part of the overall decision making process. Parsons was the Consultant, Hawaiian Dredging was the Contractor, and Bow Construction Management Services was also part of the team. The purpose and need of this project was to alleviate congestion and improve safety. For the State, this project proceeded very quickly, starting only in August of 2012 and beginning construction in April of 2013. The biggest concern during the construction phase was to avoid the back to school and holiday rush, therefore, to minimize the impact to the public a compressed schedule was followed and night work had to be done. It was decided that full closures were needed so that the entire width of the freeway could be repaved in one lift. Because there was no engineering solution for mitigation, the focus was to make the public aware. Although very few people showed up to the public meetings, the media did, and that proved to be one of the best sources to getting the message out. HPD, fire, and ambulance, and also the Visitors Bureau were informed of when the full closures were going to take place and could adjust their routes accordingly. The public affairs office send out weekly notices to the DOT and the media, keeping the momentum going to continually keep the public aware of the construction activities. Having the information in the media and keeping the public aware proved to be a win/win/win, as the public heeded the message, and complaints were minimal. The H-1 Rehab public outreach campaign was recognized with an award from the Hawaii Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for best integrated communications in the Government, Associations and Non-Profits category.
Ross opened the floor to questions. Several questions were asked and discussed among attendees, including the design exception for the substandard 10’ lanes. Test sections were first tried, and although the initial idea of 10’ lanes sounded a little scary for motorists, when in place the public responded favorably, and the 10’ lanes were continued as far as possible.
Pete thanked Ross for his presentation, and reiterated that we are looking for suggestions for speakers and events. It was also announced that we are looking to fill committee chair positions, and Cathy revealed that Brysen [Calkins] volunteered to serve as the student liaison chair.