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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Kailua sewer project set to resume in April

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

KAILUA — The Kalaheo Avenue sewer project is tentatively set to begin all over again in April, 18 months after progress stalled when the former contractor was unable to perform all the work called for.

The project will replace or rehabilitate a total of 11,150 feet of sewer pipe, and is expected to disrupt traffic, generate noise and inconvenience residents for 2 1/2 years along Kalaheo, the main beach road through the community.

The city will hold an informational meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Aikahi Elementary School, 281 Ilihau St., to explain the project and discuss the need for a noise variance to operate a bypass pump and for night tunneling work.

The project will be run by a new contractor, and city managing director Ben Lee said steps have been taken to ensure that the company hired can perform the work, including micro-tunneling.

The tunneling method avoids the need for open trenches and is intended to minimize traffic disruption and safety problems.

"There shouldn't be any surprises or excuses," Lee said, adding that the city also provided 11 more test borings to contractors interested in bidding on the project. "This time around, the contractor has a better idea of the geology of those deep pits he has to drill."

The project will run from Mokapu Boulevard to Kailua Road and will replace or rehabilitate old, deteriorating pipe and increase capacity as well. Cost is budgeted at $14 million. The first phase of the work will extend from Kainui Drive to Kaione Place.

Pits about 30 feet in diameter and 25 feet will be dug from Kainui Drive to Kailua Road, from 53 to 1,000 feet apart.

The pits hold the drilling equipment, and tunneling will go from pit to pit, with a drill pulling pipe along with it.

A total of 27 pits will be needed, with new ones dug as the project moves along Kalaheo. No pits will be needed between Kainui and Mokapu.

The last contractor couldn't break through hardened coral to dig the pits or seal the pits to keep water out while the work was being done, Lee said. This time the contractor must prove that he can accomplish the task and will be expected to use concrete to seal the pits, Lee said.

For Kailua residents, traffic control along the two-lane road and communication during the project will be the main concerns, said Kathy Bryant-Hunter, a Kailua Neighborhood Board member. Under the previous contractor, strategies for communication were developed but never implemented, Bryant-Hunter said. The community will want to be kept informed, she said.

"Everyone knows we have 2 1/2 years of impact, so tell us what to expect and when to expect it so there's no surprises," she said. "That was the main message the last time, but we ended up with a whole bunch of surprises."

The board is also concerned about two other road construction projects that will start during the sewer work, including a sewer project on Hamakua and Keolu drives and a drainage project on Kailua Road, said Bryant-Hunter.

"We want to know how the city will manage that," Bryant-Hunter said, adding that the projects are close enough to one another to create problems. "You can't have one project diverting cars up a road that's already diverting traffic."

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com or 234-5266.