City to remove sewer line eyesore
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Waikiki's biggest eyesore will be gone by week's end.
The city announced yesterday it will remove 750 feet of a large sewer pipe lining Ala Wai Boulevard, a significant milestone in a $45 million project to fix Waikiki's aging sewage system.
While Waikiki residents acknowledge the importance of the project, many have long anticipated the removal of the pipe -- 4 feet in diameter -- an unsightly inconvenience along one of Waikiki's busiest streets.
Crews will begin dismantling the pipes tomorrow. However, the right lane of Ala Wai Boulevard will remain closed until early next week to fix the sidewalks.
Bob Finley, chairman of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, said bikers and joggers look forward to the barricades coming down, and residents welcome the return of about 30 free parking stalls.
At a news conference yesterday, Mayor Mufi Hannemann said removing the pipes marks the end of a sad city maintenance chapter that climaxed in March 2006, when more than 48 million gallons of raw sewage poured into the Ala Wai Canal. The city still needs to build a backup sewage line for Waikiki, which will take at least another five years.
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Contractors for the city will remove the remaining temporary sewer pipe lining Ala Wai Boulevard this week, freeing up about 30 coveted parking stalls and opening the bike lane about two years after the unsightly emergency project began in Waikiki.
Crews will begin dismantling the 750 feet of the black sewer pipe from Seaside Avenue to Lewers Street today. They will remove the pipes tomorrow.
However, the barricades in the right lane will remain until early next week as the sidewalk is repaved.
This is a significant point in the city's effort to fix aging sewer lines in Waikiki following a massive spill in March 2006, but officials say it should be another five years before they complete the project.
"No one could be more pleased than yours truly," said Mayor Mufi Hannemann yesterday at a news conference on Ala Wai Boulevard. "Every time I came by here, it was a reminder of that fateful night in 2006 that I don't wish on any of my successors. It was a terrible ordeal to go through."
In March 2006 a 42-inch force main, which was more than 40 years old, ruptured under Kaiolu Street following more than 40 days of intense rain. More than 48 million gallons of raw sewage was dumped into the Ala Wai Canal, which leads to the ocean off Waikiki.
After the spill, Hannemann increased sewer fees and embarked on a $45 million project beginning in July 2006 to repair Waikiki's sewer system.
City crews barricaded the right lane of Ala Wai Boulevard, closing off access for bikers and removing parking spaces in an area with limited on-street parking.
The city has built two sewage lines running underneath the Ala Wai Canal that connect to the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant via Ala Moana Beach Park. In October, crews removed 900 feet of a temporary sewer bypass lining the Ala Wai Canal from Walina Avenue to Seaside Avenue.
As a backup in the event of another spill, the city plans to build additional sewage lines under Waikiki to connect to the Sand Island plant. That will take at least another year of design and planning and four years of construction, said Eldon Franklin, chief of the city's Wastewater Division.
During that time a temporary sewage pipe will remain in place on the mauka side of the Ala Wai Canal.
Bob Finley, chairman of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, said residents have been waiting anxiously for the day when the pipes, 4 feet in diameter, would be removed. Finley said joggers and coaches pacing their canoe teams were frustrated because they had to zigzag across Ala Wai Boulevard with the pipes blocking the sidewalk.
"It's a very good day for Waikiki," Finley said. "We don't want another sewage spill like in 2006 to ever happen again."
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Bob Finley is the chairman of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board. His last name was originally misspelled as Finney in this story.