No solution soon for Mapunapuna
In the last couple of years, I've had to drive through water on the corner of Kilihau and Ahua streets. Does the city know about this? Is there a problem with a water main? I'm very concerned not only about cars having to drive through it, but mainly if clean water is being wasted. Can you check on this?
Answer: The flooding problems in Mapunapuna, especially at the intersection of Kilihau and Ahua, are long-standing and well-documented by the city, state and area businesses.
Several lawsuits have been filed on the matter and are pending.
We reported three years ago (Kokua Line, July 31, 2003) that the city and Damon Estate were jointly paying for a study to see what could be done to alleviate the problem at Ahua and Kilihau, and Star-Bulletin columnist Charles Memminger recently paddled his kayak down Ahua to demonstrate the "high tide" that regularly covers the inland street (Honolulu Lite Extra, July 30, 2006).
Unfortunately, there is no short-term solution in sight, although the city says it is continuing to work with landowners to come up with a solution.
Eugene Lee, director of the city Department of Design and Construction, provided some historical background of the area.
The Samuel Mills Damon Estate developed the Mapunapuna Industrial Subdivision in the 1940s and 1950s. In the late 1960s, certain streets and drainage infrastructure were dedicated to, and accepted by, the city.
Along with this dedication, Lee said the city also received an easement from the state, allowing the city to drain storm waters into the state's drainage ditch, adjacent to the Nimitz Highway viaduct, then into Moanalua Stream.
The 2003 study, which was completed in the spring of 2004, noted that the area "is founded on unstable fill material in what used to be former swamp and wetlands," Lee said.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Star-Bulletin columnist Charles Memminger paddled down the street in July at the intersection of Ahua and Kilihau streets in Mapunapuna, where the road floods at high tide.
Over the years, the land in Mapunapuna has sunk up to four and five feet in several areas, and continues to sink, he said. This sinking land is now below sea level when it's moderate high tide.
Compounding this is that, at high tide, ocean water from Moanalua Stream backflows from the state's drainage ditch into the city's drainage system.
"This backflow at the high tide not only prevents proper drainage from the city's infrastructure, but also allows water into the city's drainage infrastructure, filling it, and causing the resulting flooding at the intersection," Lee said.
In 2004, four Maryland-based companies that had purchased land in Mapunapuna from the Damon Estate filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging it was negligent in maintaining Moanalua Stream.
Masters Properties, LLC, Robin 1 Properties LLC, TSM Properties LLC, and Z&A Properties LLC are seeking compensation for damages suffered after Moanalua Stream overflowed during a heavy rainstorm on Dec. 7, 2003, shortly after they purchased the properties.
In turn, the city has filed suit again the state, alleging that routine tidal flooding occurs because the state's concrete drainage ditch serves as the conduit for tidal sea waters to backflow into the city's drainage system.
A trial, initially set for last month, is now set for June 2007.
"Nonetheless, all parties are also in discussions with each other, with the goal of finding a means to mitigate, if not wholly resolve, the situation," Lee said.
Tests to confirm the feasibility of possible "substantial mitigation, if not a complete resolution," of the problem is being planned for the short term, he said.
Because of the pending lawsuits, Lee declined to discuss specifics, including predicting when there might be some "mitigation."
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