Perched up and playing "road crew," Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell's smile seemed wider than the stretch of new asphalt on Kauakapuu Loop in Mililani.
A freshly pressed road report shows the city has paved 317 lane miles since January -- 17 more than its annual promise -- with three months left to do more.
“If they continue to keep it up, the people of Honolulu will see a big difference,” said city councilman Stanley Chang.
It hasn't exactly been all smooth sailing.
Meheula Parkway, for example, was supposed to start in 2013, but Monkeypod trees buckling up the road delayed the project.
“So, it's taken a bit longer to get the design work done and work with arborists to make sure we don't damage those trees,” said Caldwell.
Caldwell promised work would begin no later than March 2014, even as several projects already underway, such as Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki, are seeing setbacks, in part, due to hitting utilities and uncovering soft spots.
“All of the road projects are difficult for us even though they may seem simple because they are underground,” said Design and Construction Dept. Chair Chris Takashige.
Takashige believes 10 percent in contingency funds will cover the added costs.
And Caldwell said common sense has also changed which projects happen when, saying, arguably less critical fixes are happening sooner if those jobs are closer to bigger projects.
He said he knows full well next year will bring even greater challenges.
“Every day we hear from people saying good job, but do more, do it faster, make a difference, and were doing that,” said Caldwell.
This year, the mayor got 120 of the 150 million he said he needed to fulfill his campaign promise of repaving 1,500 lane miles in 5 years.
He said most of that money has been spoken for.
As for next year, he may ask city council members for more money than this year, to stay on track.