State and city to clear
flood-prone stream

A stream in Waikane that contributes to the flooding of Kamehameha Highway during the rainy season will likely be cleared of vegetation by winter, according to state officials.

The state Department of Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii and the city have reached an agreement on cost-sharing for clearing the unnamed stream, Stephanie Aveiro, the housing agency's executive director, said this week.

"I have confidence the stream will be cleared by the wet season at the end of the year," Aveiro told members of the City Council's Public Works and Economic Development Committee. She said her agency will find the needed funds for its portion of the job in its current budget.

The city has set aside $250,000 for its half of the job.

The city will handle contracting the work to clear 150 feet mauka of the highway right-of-way, the state Department of Transportation will handle clearing under the bridge over the stream, and "we'll pay for our share," Aveiro said.

After the one-time clearing of mangrove and other trees, state lessees will be responsible for keeping the stream mouth clear in the future, Aveiro said. However, the agency did not feel it was fair to ask them to undertake a task that has not been done in 50 years, she said.

Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz, who represents the area, said he was pleased that the state agency would be helping clear the stream.

When it rains hard in Waikane, overflowing streams flood Kamehameha Highway, making it impossible for residents to get to work, school or appointments. The highway has been closed eight times since January 2004, according to police and civil defense data.

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