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Hawaii auditor says roads division policy needs an upgrade

Hawaii auditor says roads division policy needs an upgrade
Hawaii auditor says roads division policy needs an upgrade

The Office of the Kauai County Auditor in Hawaii recently released a report commissioned to investigate a county road maintenance program, which found a number of deficiencies obstructing how upkeep was performed, as well as non-permitted use of roads resources, the Garden Island reports.

"The takeaway from this audit is that roads are valuable county assets, and an asset management plan is needed to ensure proper maintenance," said County Auditor Ernesto Pasion.

According to the news source, County Engineer Larry Dill and County Manager Gary Heu both agreed with the assessment, saying that all of the findings – seven in total – were worth taking a second look at.

"The good news is that the public works department and its roads division have already improved the annual road maintenance program," Pasion said. "They also agree with the audit recommendations. We encourage the administration and the county council to continue providing them with the resources they need to implement the recommendations."

The media outlet stated that since 2006, the island's roads division has performed its own assessment of roads usage with the industry standard MicroPaver system to manage historical data. MicroPaver is a crucial tool for performing a strong assessment of road conditions and what the public demands. Information derived from the system can been used to identify which areas need the most maintenance.

However, the report also found that the county is using a generalized program to identify new resurfacing needs, which does not allow for understanding unique road conditions, and limits options for maintenance methods and materials. This, the report said, is concerning, as it suggests the county allows the roads to become entirely unusable before resurfacing projects begin.

While the standard is to implement a preventative maintenance program that includes resurfacing after 75 percent of lifetime use – typically 15 years – the country has been waiting an average of 20 years to fix the roads, the news source stated.

Developing a strong asset maintenance program can help communities lower costs, which often are passed on to town residents. 

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