CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
This condemned pedestrian bridge crosses the stream from Violet Street in Kalihi.
Bridge might be razed, replaced
Members of the Kalihi Neighborhood Board want a new structure
The city is proposing to demolish a dilapidated wooden footbridge in Kalihi Valley with no plans to reconstruct a new one. But area residents want it replaced.
The city recently deemed the wooden footbridge near Violet Street unsafe and proposed to demolish it immediately.
Following an inspection, city officials informed members of the Kalihi Valley Neighborhood Board in July that the 40-foot-long bridge has "substantial deterioration," including wood rot, insect damage and rust.
Board members said there is a unanimous call from the community to have the bridge replaced, and requested the city to look into costs.
Officials are expected to provide an update at the monthly board meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Kalihi Valley Regional District Park.
Officials of the Department of the Corporation Counsel, Department of Design and Construction, and Department of Facility Maintenance are currently looking at options.
Laverne Higa, director of facility maintenance, said they had proposed not to replace the bridge because of safety and liability reasons. The city owns the bridge but it is located on privately owned land.
The location itself is somewhat precarious, Higa said, adding that one side of the slope near the bridge is steep. A replacement bridge would have to meet current standards, and costs are likely to be high.
Board Chairman William Woods-Bateman said the city failed to maintain the bridge, estimated to be at least 65 years old.
Area residents said the bridge serves as a shortcut to the other side of the valley as well as a nearby bus stop. City officials said there is another bridge at Ahihi Street, three blocks away. But some say access to the other bridge is difficult due to the steep roadway leading to it from Nihi Street.
Large boards were placed at both entrances of the rotting bridge to prevent access as the city looks into the issue.
Some residents raised concerns about the bridge at a neighborhood board meeting three months ago.
"It's a hazard," said longtime Kalihi resident James M. Rodrigues Sr. "It's a pretty big drop from the bridge to the stream."
Four years ago, repairs were done when a vehicle damaged the bridge.
City Councilman Rod Tam, who represents District 6, said he plans to inquire about bridge replacement costs.
This year's budget has $250,000 in capital improvement project funds for the entire district, which extends from Makiki to Kalihi. Tam said he plans to seek funding for the bridge next year.
"It would have to be the only CIP project in Kalihi because I have to share the money with other communities," Tam said.