HONOLULU(KHON2) — A Palolo street with a long history of landslides is finally reopening after extensive stabilization work.
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Those who are familiar with the project said they are satisfied with the work, but there’s no guarantee more landslides won’t happen in the future.
Six years ago Kuahea Street was cracked and buckling from decades of landslides. Now the street and hillside much imlproved after comprehensive stabilization work.
“Today the project, I would say, is almost in completion. And I’m very happy because it has really helped stabilize the area,” Honolulu Councilmember Calvin Say said.
Say, who grew up in Palolo, said the problem dates back more than 70 years.
“In those days, in the 50s, it was all a rock quarry and the rocks were being excavated,” he explained. “The crushed rocks that were not being used were set aside and that’s how they created the slide that occurred.”
According to the city, the earth has been shifting ever since the subdivision was built in 1951, with the movement and landslides accelerating from a rate of about one inch per year, to over one foot per year since 2016.
All that movement damaging homes, roads and infrastructure including sewer and water lines in the area.
The city spent $24 million dollars to secure the hillside from Kuahea Street Down to Waomao Road.
According to Say, the city condemned at least six properties and installed underground tieback anchors and a wall system to prevent the hillside from crashing down.
Palolo resident Bill Chismar has lived in the area for over three decades.
“It started as a small slide and just kept growing and growing and growing,” Chismar said.
“We’re very happy that the road is being reopened again, its been a long time.”
While residents, like Chismar said they are relieved that Kuahea Street is fixed those who live up Kuahea place have been walking along a steep and narrow path for the past five years to get up to their homes.
“Our road fell six feet vertically and 20 feet horizontally, so its been five years since the neighbors up here could drive up to their house,” Chismar said.
The skinny, wooden ramp up the hill an unwelcome reality especially on rainy days.
“Looking forward to being able to go down this road at least,” Chismar said pointing toward the newly paved main street.
Given all the work and tax payer dollars that went into the project KHON still wanted to know:
“Has this completely solved the problem? Does this mean that there will be absolutely no more slides? Is the Earth still moving?” KHON asked Say.
“Well, only time will tell as far as if the slide will continue, I’m very, very hopeful that the slide does not continue on. But who knows with mother nature, right?”
The city officially plans to reopen Kuahea Street on October 4. According to the city, they also plan to install a new water line and do additional utility and reconstruction work along Waomao Road.