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Thursday, March 9, 2000

Ala Wai pile drivers won’t
be too loud, engineers say

By Mary Adamski


Government spokesmen faced disbelief from Waikiki residents when they predicted that construction noise on a Kalakaua Avenue pedestrian bridge won't be as bad as they endured when Hawaii Convention Center was built.

State Department of Transportation engineers said pile driving in the Ala Wai Canal should begin in July and will continue for the first four months of the yearlong project.

But the use of hydraulic hammers instead of diesel-powered equipment and "a sound shroud at the top of the piling will reduce the sound to neighboring condos," said Jeffrey Fujimoto, a technical design engineer with the Department of Transportation.

"The project will be painful and it will be loud for a while," City Councilman Duke Bainum acknowledged to a crowd of about 150 people last night. But both he and state Sen. Carol Fukunaga asserted that the pile-driving method will not be as wrenching as residents anticipate.

The shrouded pilings were used for recent Ala Moana Center construction, Fukunaga said. "They had no complaints."

Ala Wai resident Helen Carroll commented, "Time for a vacation from Waikiki."

Waikiki resident Sam Shenkus asked, "Why not accelerate the schedule and get it over with faster?"

The crowd split about 50-50 when a show of hands was solicited about whether they'd rather suffer pile-driving seven days per week and get it done quicker, or have two days' respite with a five-day work schedule.

The $4 million project will add a 14-foot wide, 180-foot-long bridge abutting the existing bridge that carries vehicles and pedestrians over the canal. It was deemed necessary to handle increased foot traffic generated by the convention center.

Fujimoto said the project was timed to begin after the Lions Club International convention in June, which has a projected attendance of 30,000 people. The project contractor has not yet been selected.

The concrete bridge will carry two sewer lines and a water line, as well as telephone and cable television conduits. Fujimoto said the agencies involved will coordinate work to ensure the shortest possible duration of the project.

Last night's meeting at Hilton Hawaiian Village was sponsored by state and city lawmakers representing Waikiki. It also covered other construction projects from as far away as the H-1 freeway that will affect Waikiki.

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