Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Frank Coluccio Construction Vice President Franco Coluccio, The Rev. William Kaina and others participated in a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday at Kalama Beach Park for the Kalaheo Avenue sewer and water line project in Kailua. Coluccio's daughter, Giavana Coluccio, 15, smashed a bottle of champagne on a symbolic sewer pipe.

Final Kailua sewer
project begins

Hannemann says he hopes the overhaul will
cease to be a "major source of irritation"

The Rev. William Kaina held up the traditional Hawaiian digging stick in front of the large metal modern-day digging machine that will tunnel beneath the streets of Kailua over the next several months.

"The 'o 'o stick is meant more than just to build," Kaina told the crowd of several dozen gathered at Kalama Beach Park for the groundbreaking and blessing of what should be the final sewer and water line work on Kalaheo Avenue.

"It creates a community of people, and in this community, in order for the work to move forward ... it takes all of you to work together," Kaina said.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he also wants to make sure that the work moves forward so that residents will not have to endure traffic detours and continued construction headaches on their roads.

"This has been a project that has been a major source of irritation to the people of Kailua, and rightfully so," the mayor said. "They suffered long enough and I want to make sure that we're accountable, that we're transparent and that we're always available to answer for any unexpected delays."

Yesterday's groundbreaking and blessing was also meant to celebrate the completion last month of the nearly $26 million Hamakua-Keolu-Kainehe sewer project, which rehabilitated 2,300 feet of existing sewer lines and installed 6,200 feet of new sewer pipe along those streets.

General contractor Frank Coluccio Construction headed that project and is the main contractor on the upcoming Kalaheo Avenue work.

"We've fulfilled our promises with the community in Kailua and we try to deliver what we tell them we're going to deliver," said Franco Coluccio, the vice president. "And if we don't make it, we try not to sugarcoat it."

Kailua Neighborhood Board Chairwoman Kathy Bryant-Hunter said that the work that the Coluccio firm did on the Hamakua project gives the community assurance that the firm and its bevy of subcontractors will get the project completed with fewer hassles than before.

"I think there was a lot of confidence in Coluccio, in how they did the Hamakua Drive project -- the cleanliness and safety of their job site," Bryant-Hunter said.

Coluccio said that part of that is due to the microtunneling process, which doesn't involve digging up large stretches of streets. "It's a less invasive approach," he said.

Hannemann said that many of the delays and problems with the earlier phases of the Kalaheo project occurred under the previous administration. And while his administration cannot atone for some of those past mistakes, he said that his administration will learn from them.

"We're trying to put things on a right foot," Hannemann said.

The $30.8 million project includes installing more than 5,000 feet of new sewer pipe between Dune Circle and Kailua Road, and installing 10,000 feet of replacement waterline from Mokapu Boulevard to Kuulei Road. After all the work is completed, Kalaheo Avenue will be repaved. The work is expected to be completed by October 2006.

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