It’s been more than two years since the city broke ground on a new Emergency Medical Services facility in Waipio.

The facility was supposed to be completed by spring of last year. Now that date has been pushed back to July.

Nearby residents have noticed construction has taken a bit longer than expected.  

“Just as a comparison, we had Wendy’s come into our neighborhood down the street. Not only do they have to clear trees and brush and everything else, but they had to build the whole building. They did it and they are hiring people,” said Waipio resident Carswell Ross.  

After reaching out to the city, officials sent us a statement by Department of Design and Construction Deputy Director Mark Yonamine:

“The Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Central Oahu Unit Facility is expected to complete construction by mid-summer. The majority of the work remaining involves cabinetry, interior finishes, landscaping, and the electrical connection to HECO. The project has experienced some delay due to contractor performance and HECO approval of the connection into their system. The Department of Design and Construction is working closely with the contractor, Paradigm Construction LLC, to complete the project.”

State Rep. Ryan Yamane, who has been involved with the project since the beginning, tells us a permit had to be approved again.  

“The most currently delay dealt with getting the appropriate permits between a change in the contractor’s design for the building, which delayed it about six months,” said Yamane. “We contacted Hawaiian Electric, and HECO stated that all the approvals have been given and they are able to proceed with work.”

We also reached out to HECO, which provided the following explanation: 

“In the original request, the consultant assumed the facility could connect to our grid directly in front of the project site. We notified the consultant that it would have to trench a few hundred feet and install underground ducts to carry the lines up the street to our nearest power source. The consultant revised its drawings to reflect this plan. Hawaiian Electric finalized the drawings and sent a proposal letter to the consultant in April 2017.
“At that point, the consultant replied that the route would be too expensive for the city and asked us to investigate an alternative solution. We proposed an alternative route running down the sidewalk, using a good portion of existing ductline and asked the consultant to revise and resubmit drawings. The city, however, opted to do the road crossing. When the electrical contractor began trenching, the crew discovered a 48-inch drain pipe, causing yet another delay. The consultant was notified that it would need to reinforce the ductline in order to continue with the trenching.”

When we asked the city about the design change, the Department of Design and Construction responded:

“The initial point of connection to HECO was across the street. HECO then directed the city to connect to the same side of the street toward the intersection of Ka Uka Boulevard and Ukee Street. HECO came back again later and said to go with the original design across the street.”

Meanwhile, we learned crews hit another snag Tuesday morning. The Board of Water Supply tells us it had to make repairs after the contractor damaged a water main. 

With these delays, we wanted to know if the cost of the project has changed. The last time we reported the price tag it was at $3.85 million. 

The city says that cost has not changed.

We’re told ambulance operations also have not changed. EMS has been leasing space and working out of a warehouse in Waipio Gentry near Kaiser Permanente. The monthly rent is $9,630.