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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Drive Time
Kailua learns to deal with sewer work

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Transportation Writer

For Kailua residents the past three years, it seems everywhere you go there's a sewage construction project.

The city is continuing a portion of its sewer pipe project in Kailua near North Kalaheo Avenue, but will hold off another sewer project along Hamakua Drive until early next year.

The overall project to replace sewer lines along Kalaheo Avenue is still on hold. The three- to four-year project called for the replacement or reconstruction of 22,600 feet of sewer lines on Aumoe and Kailua roads, to Kalaheo Avenue and on Kalaheo to Kainui Drive.

But the project along the Kailua thoroughfare came to a halt in May of last year when the contractor hit unusually hard coral while drilling. The city stopped work to rebid on the project, while trying find a better and more cost-effective drilling method.

Meanwhile, Kailua businesses along Hamakua Drive can breathe a sigh of relief, as the city will delay its sewage project there until early next year.

In August 1998, an aging underground city sewer line collapsed along Hamakua Drive in front of Jaron's Restaurant, and a large sinkhole opened up. Area businesses had to deal with six months of emergency construction to replace 600 feet of sewer line.

The sinkhole, related construction noise and lack of access to Jaron's nearly sank the restaurant financially, said Kern Rogerson, who along with wife Niki owns and operates the business. If it weren't for a longtime customer providing a $100,000 personal loan to help pay the bills and repairs, Jaron's would not be around today.

Q.What is the city working on now?

A. Work on the 48-inch-wide trunk sewer line along Kainui Drive, which began in March. City spokesman Doug Woo said the Kainui project is about 70 percent complete and should be done by August.

Q. What is the overall status of the Kalaheo Avenue project?

A.The city is still in the process of rebidding for the overall project. Work on Aumoe and Kailua roads has been completed, and the new contract will cover only the Kalaheo Avenue stretch from Kailua Road to Kainui Drive.

Q. What is the tentative schedule for the sewer line project along Hamakua Drive?

A. Businesses were initially told work could begin in October. Woo said the work has been pushed back to early next year.

"We want to make sure we get all the businesses' concerns before we begin this project," Woo said.

Construction for the $25 million, 2 1/2-year project will run along Kainehe Street to Hamakua Drive and along Hamakua to Keolu Drive. The work will continue on Keolu past Akipohe Street.

A consultant for the city has recommended that work near businesses at Kainehe Street and Hamakua Drive be done at night, but the city has not made a final decision.

Scott Ishikawa covers transportation issues. You can call him at 525-8070, write him at The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802 or e-mail sishikawa@honoluluadvertiser.com.