Danger in the tunnels? Many freeway tunnel fans not working

Hundreds of vehicles drive through the H3 freeway tunnels on a daily basis, but what if we told you a very important part of the tunnel was only partially working?

KHON2 wanted to know what action is being taken to fix the problem and if it’s dangerous to drivers health.

H3 ventilation fan problems were outlined in a document from the department of transportation to the state procurement office. Some of the ventilation fans aren’t working. The 32 fans were installed in 1995 and after 20 years of service only 50 percent remain in working condition.

“Fifty percent of the fans not working is a huge concern, especially since it seems like they weren’t working for sometime,” said Sen. Breene Harimoto, vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

According to the document, the DOT did attempt to repair and restore two of the fans in 2011 and 2013, but weren’t able to because of various setbacks. The document also states that some of those setbacks include local vendors not being able to restore the fans because of the “exacting demands and size of the machinery, coupled with it’s electro-mechanical controls.”

This new proposal if approved would fix six of the most critical fans with plans to fix all 32 in the future. While still early an estimated cost for the first six would be $4.2 million.

“There needs to be some questions asked as to why the issue has not been addressed given the fact that the department of transportation in fact tried to repair some of the fans in 2011 and 2013,” said Rep. Sharon Har, who sits on the House Transportation Committee.

In the document the DOT says “to ensure the safety of motorists that use these tunnels, a dependable ventilation system is required to keep noxious gases to safe level.”

Are drivers safe when they drive through the one-mile tunnels? At this time the DOT says there are no safety concerns.

“I’m sure they know what they are talking about perhaps just driving through the tunnel is not an issue, but should there be an accident or fire,I think they need all of the fans,” said Sen. Harimoto.

None of the work has been finalized and there is no timeline of when things would even start.

“I appreciate you bringing this to my attention I was not aware of this, but I think in general there are many concerns with the DOT and the maintenance issues so I definitely will pursue this, and get some info as well as some other related issues,” said Sen. Harimoto.


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