Kokua Line
June Watanabe

Builders use park property
for sewer line

Question: There is a condo going up on Ala Moana at what was once the site of a Chevron gas station. Across the street at Ala Moana Park, in front of the tennis courts, it looks like a developer set up a small concrete processing plant, which I assume is for the condo construction. How is this possible? Is the developer paying to use this park space?

Answer: The tower structure, taken down last week after about a month, was described as a "grouting mechanism" needed as part of a project to install a sewer relief line for two high-rise developments in Kakaako, including the one directly across from Ala Moana Park.

The project is being paid for entirely by the developers of the two projects, said Dennis Nishimura, waste-water branch chief for the city Department of Planning and Permitting.

Once the sewer project is completed, the developers will dedicate the new lines to the city, Nishimura said. Although it involved use of park land, the city did not charge any fee. It is not uncommon for the city to allow a private developer to use public property in return for paying for a new sewer line, then turning it over to the city, Nishimura said.

The park space used, between the canal and sidewalk on the mauka side of the park, is also little used by the public, he said.

The structure was needed to produce grout to "solidify the ground," which was "relatively soft," Nishimura explained.

That, in turned, allowed microtunneling -- "drilling beneath the surface of the ground from Ala Moana Park going mauka to the new high-rises being built," he said.

The microtunneling began Thursday and was expected to be completed today.

The tunneling couldn't be seen because it was taking place within the park or on the mauka side of the boulevard, within the project site, Nishimura said.


To the man in a late-model Firebird. I thought I'd seen it all, but at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, he was driving on Kalanianaole Highway from Waialae Iki to Niu Valley, using his computer laptop on his steering wheel! Can the Police Department send him a letter notifying him of this reckless behavior? -- No Name

The Honolulu Police Department sometimes will send warning letters to motorists, but not in this case, because the driver was not violating any law, said spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

According to HPD's Traffic Division, using the laptop is "not advisable," but it is "not technically against the law," Yu said.

HPD can send a warning letter to the registered owner of a vehicle when someone reports a violation, she said. The letter would say that on a certain date/time, the driver of the car was seen committing a traffic violation (speeding, etc.).

The letter would ask for the driver's "cooperation and support," Yu said.

No citation would be issued unless police also witnessed the violation.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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