Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, March 25, 1999

Work along Salt
Lake going slow

Question: Can you get an update on the progress (or lack of) on the improvement of Salt Lake Boulevard? It seems as though they have been working on the area fronting Radford High School/Foster Village for a least four years. We would like to know when we can expect them to get to our area, in the 3700 block.

Answer: It may seem like four years, but it's only been two and a half years -- since September, 1996 -- that work on Phase One of the Salt Lake project began.

And, the end of that phase -- widening Salt Lake from Luapele Drive to Bougainville Drive, is scheduled in May, said Roland Libby, deputy director, city Department of Design and Construction.

After that, there will be a respite of at least eight to nine months before work resumes for Phase Two, from Bougainville to Reeves Street, he said. Future work is contingent on federal funding.

Phase One, initially scheduled for completion last September, was delayed primarily because of the need to coordinate new underground utilities with existing ones, Libby said.

Also, it was felt that the ribbed-textured concrete walls at the Ewa end of the project needed "aesthetic enhancement."

Along the higher segments of the wall, planters were installed just below the top for bougainvillea plants to eventually cascade down, "giving the wall a lower appearance," Libby said.

Meanwhile, creeping ficus vines have been planted along the base. In a few years, the vines will have spread, turning the plain concrete into a wall of green, Libby said.

The extra work has increased the cost of Phase One from $9,413,000 to $10,751,928, he said. Eighty percent of that is federal funding, 20 percent, city.

Meanwhile, Phase Two, already a year in the design stage, also has fallen behind schedule.

In designing the second phase, the city sought community feedback on landscaping, parking and access to homes on the mauka side.

"In addressing the community concerns, we determined that we needed some right-of-way easements from the Navy property on the makai side," Libby said. Trying to secure those easements triggered federal environmental assessment requirements.

"We're still in the process of working out with the Navy their concerns about drainage," he said.

That's why there is no firm date on when Phase Two will begin. The city is hoping to qualify for federal funding, but there's no guarantee that it's forthcoming. The best case scenario -- IF the federal money is approved by year's end -- is that construction can begin early next year, Libby said. Otherwise, it will be a year or longer before Phase Two can start.

No one's even talking about Phase Three -- Reeves to Ala Lilikoi Street -- which initially was to start next year.

"That's even more in the distant future," Libby said.



To the drivers of cars with license plates GSG 089 and GVV 888. On Feb. 20, I was stalled at the top of the 6th Avenue off-ramp. GVV 888 helped push my car to the side.

You and GSG 089 knew that my car just needed water.

With the help of the man at the 6th Avenue house who gave me water, my sister and I were able to get home.

I will think twice when I see someone needing help. --Someone who believes

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fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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