CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kalihi resident Christian Benkman stood on a wooden footbridge over Kamanaiki Stream yesterday in Kalihi. Residents calls want the deteriorating bridge to be repaired, replaced or removed, but no one knows who owns it. CLICK FOR LARGE
Kalihi Valley footbridge on shaky ground
Wobbly bridge's owner in question
Action on a wobbly footbridge over Kamanaiki Stream in Kalihi Valley has been hung up over the issue of who owns the wooden structure.
The same question arose four years ago, when a runaway vehicle took out part of the bridge's railing. Repairs were slow in coming because the city didn't know who owned the bridge.
Some Kalihi residents now want the aging structure replaced or removed before someone is injured.
The Kalihi Valley Neighborhood Board was to discuss the rotting bridge at a meeting today at Kalihi Regional District Park.
Some Kalihi Valley residents are worried about the stability of a wooden footbridge over Kamanaiki Stream used by about 100 people a day.
The Kalihi Valley Neighborhood Board was to discuss the aging bridge at its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. today at Kalihi Regional District Park, 1911 Kamehameha IV Road.
Some residents raised questions at a previous meeting about the deteriorating wooden bridge, which is about 40 feet long and 4 feet wide. Some had requested that the bridge, located between Violet Street and Kamanaiki Street, should be repaired, replaced or removed.
One question hanging up the issue is just who owns the bridge.
The same issue confounded the city four years ago when a vehicle damaged the bridge.
About 100 adults and children cross the bridge daily, said nearby resident Bill Benkman. Many use it as a shortcut to get to a bus stop.
The bridge's wooden makai railing is rotting, leaning and unstable. Benkman, who easily pushed the railing from side to side yesterday, said it poses a danger, primarily for elderly and children who often walk on the bridge.
Wood rot has also affected the bridge's walkway. "They should do something," said Benkman, a 12-year Kalihi resident.
Noel Ono and Ken Nakamatsu, the mayor's representatives for the board, joined inspectors on a visit to the bridge a couple of weeks ago.
The inspectors deemed the bridge unsafe and placed temporary barriers there. Residents also placed "Keep Out" signs and a piece of wood across the Violet Street entrance to the bridge. Still, residents walked across yesterday.
Nakamatsu said city officials are faced with a dilemma because the bridge's private owner is as yet unknown. He said an engineer once told him the bridge was built at the behest of the City Council.
Longtime resident James M. Rodrigues Sr. said the bridge is at least 65 years old.
Rodrigues, 76, has lived in Kalihi since he was 10 and recalled walking across the bridge to get to Nihi Street from his Laulani Street home. "It's in bad shape," Rodrigues said. "We don't want nobody getting hurt."
Four years ago, a vehicle took out a large part of the footbridge's wooden mauka railing. While the affected railing was eventually replaced, the same question arose: Who owns the bridge?
"Here we are four years later with the same problem and we still don't have the answer," said board Chairman William Woods-Bateman.
According to Councilman Rod Tam, the bridge is owned by the city. "I am requesting the city administration to act expeditiously on this matter," Tam said. "It's a matter of health and safety."
City officials are expected to meet on the issue sometime in the next couple of weeks.