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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 10, 2002

Kalaniana'ole work still on fast track

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Writer

HAWAI'I KAI — Despite early, optimistic estimates that work was running ahead of schedule, there is more trenching to be done on the water main project under way on Kalaniana'ole Highway.

The state says there will be no work involving lane closures on Kalaniana'ole Highway during the Sony Open golf tournament this week. Despite a slowdown in work because of the holidays, the state still expects the project to be done early.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

Still, the state hopes to wrap up everything by the end of June — about three months earlier than it initially projected the $6 million project would take.

Crews did not do any work on the road — the only artery to and from town from East Honolulu — during two weeks around Christmas and two days around Thanksgiving, said Marilyn Kali, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

And no work involving lane closures will be done today through Sunday during the Sony Open at the Wai'alae Golf Course. But after the event is over, crews will be back out on the eastbound lanes finishing the water main work between Wailupe and West Hind Drive. Starting late February or early March, crews will begin resurfacing, installing guardrails, wheelchair access and landscaping along the westbound lanes, Kali said.

"There is still more to do on the water main project," Kali said. "It should be completed in March."

Two months ago, transportation officials estimated the work on the $6 million project to replace underground water mains would be completed ahead of schedule in December. Officials even went so far as to say the work was about 40 percent ahead of schedule. But the work stoppage during the holidays will push back the second phase of the project, she said.

Despite the delays, residents say the road work has not snarled traffic nearly as badly as they had feared. Workers typically close off two lanes from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays during the construction, which began in April.

"Actually, its been OK," said Meymo Rego, an 'Aina Haina resident. "I go out at different hours of the day and it's been OK — surprisingly."

The work was broken up into two phases, the first began near Kalani High School last April and was completed in two and a half months, instead of the four the state initially estimated. Crews are still on the second phase, which runs from Kaimoku Street to West Hind Drive. Transportation officials had estimated that the work would take nine months to complete.

"There's some delays," said Fred Pump, a Wai'alae Iki resident. "They seem to have it pretty well in hand. They do a very good job of getting traffic moving."