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It was a close call along the H-1 Freeway. A light pole, clearly rusted at its base, fell onto the freeway, just missing the cars passing by.
Drivers saw a freeway light pole leaning dangerously over the roadway near the Joint base Pearl Harbor Hickam on-ramp.
“I just happened to look, ‘Hey look at the thing. It’s coming down. The light is coming down,'” witness Jennie Ishizaki said.
Luckily, no other cars happened to be in the pole’s pathway.
“It could have smashed the top of a car and that would be a very heavy thing,” Ishizaki said.
Honolulu police blocked off the area until state crews arrived on scene.
“We did get a report of a pole leaning prior to 10:45 and we were able to clear it about 12:30 this afternoon,” Department of Transportation spokesperson Caroline Sluyter said.
But it left behind a gaping hole of questions.
“I don’t know what brought it down, but now they have to check the other lights now, too, because if one went down others might come down, too. And there might be cars when the others come down,” Ishizaki said.
The state DOT has not yet confirmed the cause of this pole’s deterioration, but rust appears to be a major factor.
It’s something that’s no stranger to Hawaii’s aging infrastructure.
Last month, KHON2’s report about a rusty guardrail along Kalanianaole Highway sparked action from the state. The guardrail has since been replaced.
And three months ago, there was a similar scene on Atkinson Drive when the base of a city light pole was corroded.
The city Department of Transportation Services has just gotten the green light from City Council to start an inspection program — something they had not had before.
So the question remains: Is this a sign that more needs to be done at the state level as well?
The state could not tell KHON2 when the pole will be repaired or if they’ll be inspecting others in the area.
KHON2 will continue to follow up on this story.
- Downed light pole prompts City to consider inspection program
- Emergency guardrail repair work will require highway closure