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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Sunday, June 24, 2001


No Ala Wai bridge,
but dredging still on

Question: When I attended a neighborhood board meeting at the Hawaii Convention Center, they said there was going to be a pedestrian bridge placed alongside the Kalakaua Avenue bridge. Construction was to start in May. As of yet, there is nothing. Also, they said that, after years and years, they finally were going to start dredging the Ala Wai Canal in May. There's no dredging going on. Are these two projects dead in the water or are they still going to happen?

Answer: One is dead, one is still treading water.

It turns out the proposed $4 million project to build a 14-foot wide, 180-foot-long bridge abutting the existing Kalakaua Avenue bridge won't be built.

The project was to have begun last July and take a year to complete, but it was canceled May 11 because "we had a very hard time getting approval for the project plans from the city," said Marilyn Kali, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

The city was concerned about the amount of trimming that would have been required on four trees, she said.

Although the contract for the project had already been awarded, when it became apparent that the required permit would not be approved, "we just canceled the project," Kali said.

"It's an unusual project for us to be doing because it is on (an existing) city bridge," she noted. "But the Legislature funded it to mitigate any congestion" caused by the convention center.

Asked if there was a possibility the bridge could still be built, she said it would have to be "a whole new project."

But Kali also observed that the bridge may not even be necessary now because pedestrian traffic generated by the convention center "hasn't been more than the current bridge can handle."

The DOT sent letters to lawmakers, the mayor and others concerned about the cancellation, she said.

Meanwhile, officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources are still "working with the contractor" over details of the Ala Wai Canal dredging project, said Andrew Monden, chief engineer for DLNR's Engineering Branch. He said they're still hopeful of beginning the long-talked about dredging sometime in late summer.

Q: I am planning to visit Honolulu this summer and would like to see the Ala Wai Floating Lantern Ceremony. What is the date of the event?

A: The Buddhist "Toro Nagashi" ritual honoring the dead is held every year on Aug. 15, according to a member of the Tendai Mission of Hawaii, which sponsors the event.

The program will start about 5:30 p.m. at the Waikiki end of the Ala Wai Canal, near the Waikiki-Kapahulu Library. At 8 p.m., more than 1,000 paper lanterns, placed on wooden rafts, will set sail on the Ala Wai, all towed by canoes. Each lantern represents the memory of a deceased loved one.

Before they can hit the open ocean, however, the lanterns will all be picked up and returned to the Tendai Mission in Nuuanu.

Auwe

To whoever tampered with my bumper sticker. One of the main principles of our country is freedom of speech. I can put any kind of political statement or support any political candidate on my bumper sticker. We should all remember that this is a free country. -- No name





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