Chris Prendergast, president of the Palisades Community Association, stood next to a fence yesterday along Komo Mai Drive that earlier was smashed by boulders that rolled down. He's worried something or someone will be hit or injured by falling rocks and is pleased that the state took quick action to fix problems on its 34-acre property.

Pearl City rock
threat eases

State work to shore up an
unstable hillside at the Pacific
Palisades entrance wins praise

Pacific Palisades residents are praising state rock fall mitigation work over Komo Mai Drive -- the only route in and out of their neighborhood.


About 200 unstable rocks were pried from the hillside and removed in May, and a new fence will be installed beginning tomorrow to replace one damaged by boulders.

Fred Guitan, who has lived in the hilltop neighborhood 40 years, said he's never heard of anyone getting hit by a falling rock along Komo Mai Drive, but he's seen plenty of rocks that have fallen there.

Generally, the rocks are basketball-sized or smaller. "Somebody stops in the morning and moves them out of the way," Guitan said yesterday. "It's infrequent."

Yet, damage to the dilapidated 4-foot fence that's there now seems to indicate that at some point larger boulders must have rolled down the hill, said Chris Prendergast, president of the Palisades Community Association, which represents about 1,500 homeowners.

Royal Contracting removed about 200 loose rocks from the hillside last month for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said Vice President Leonard Leong.

The largest boulder was 4 feet in diameter and may have weighed 3,000 pounds, Leong said. "There were some 2- and 3-footers, but most were about 1 foot in diameter," he said.

Guitan said he's grateful that the state has taken temporary measures to reduce the likelihood of rock falls from its 46-acres of hillside land. And supports the state spending several million on additional work, "if it affects somebody's life."

Prendergast also said he's pleased at how quickly the state was able to assess and take action on its 34-acre property. He said he's not aware of any action taken by private landowners whose land also overlooks other portions of Komo Mai Drive.

Installation of a new 6-foot fence along 1,500 feet of Komo Mai Drive begins tomorrow and should take about two weeks, Leong said.

Royal's contract with the state to scale the hillside and install fencing is for $121,600, said Scott Whiting, a DLNR special projects manager.

Earth Tech Inc. was paid $25,000 for a geological study of the hillside and $16,200 to monitor Royal's work, Whiting said.

Earth Tech recently completed a comprehensive study of rock fall dangers along state highways on Oahu for the state Department of Transportation, and Royal did the recently completed $1.3 million rock fall mitigation job on Makapuu Point.

Earth Tech gave four options for longer-term work on the Komo Mai hillside, ranging in cost from $3.2 million to $5.2 million, Whiting said. The state has tentatively selected a $3.2 million cable-and-mesh system similar to what's installed at Makapuu, he said.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --