Friday, July 16, 2004

A drill rig fitted with a cleanup bucket, as well as other heavy machinery, crowded North Kalaheo Avenue yesterday as underground construction on the sewer line continues to take place in the Kailua residential area.

Kailua sewer work
behind schedule

Replacing old pipes was supposed
to be completed in March

The city is negotiating with its contractor about how long it will take to finish a behind-schedule sewer project under North Kalaheo Avenue in Kailua.

Replacement of 50-year-old sewer lines between Kainui Drive and Dune Circle was supposed to begin in February 2003 and be finished in March.

Projected completion for that phase of the project, which is being done by Westcon Micro Tunneling, is now November, Frank Doyle, city Environmental Services director, said yesterday.

A second phase, to replace lines under Kalaheo from Dune Circle to Kailua Road, has not yet been awarded, but could be completed in 2005, Doyle said.

Westcon started Phase 1 of the project in April 2003 and has been plagued by "a lot of different problems with (its) equipment," Doyle said. "It's not an easy job microtunneling in that area. (The contractor) may have hit old sheetpiling that is in there, and the tunneling machine stuck."

Microtunneling allows replacement of underground sewer lines without trenching up the entire street. However, it appears that concrete and iron debris used to stabilize the sandy soil is now creating obstacles for the contractor, Kailua Neighborhood Board Chairwoman Kathy Bryant-Hunter said yesterday.

The project has rerouted traffic from Kalaheo, the normally busy road that parallels Kailua Beach, to Kainalu Drive, where off-duty police monitor traffic during peak hours.

The project "was behind when it started," Bryant-Hunter said.

Another contractor blamed "difficult geology" for its inability to complete the project in 2000.

The overall $36 million project is to replace and rebuild 26,000 feet of deteriorating sewer line from Aumoe Road near Kailua Beach Park to the Kailua Wastewater Treatment Plant in Aikahi.

When complete, the project should end rainwater infiltration into the sewers, which led to sewage spills on Kailua beaches after heavy rains last winter, Doyle said.

Westcon Micro Tunneling officials did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.


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