City notifies more than 1,000 property owners of possible rockfall hazard

Rockfall study prompts decision to put homeowners on notice

Published  4:25 PM HST Mar 21, 2013
Rockfall hazard
HONOLULU -

"You are on notice," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Caldwell stood in front of a recently complete rockfall project on Sierra Drive in Kaimuki, essentially reversing a position previously held under the Carlisle administration.

It was about a year ago that KITV first began asking about rockfall work that was underway.

And why a study paid for by taxpayers, wasn't being shared.

The mayor officially released results of the internal rockslide study online that now gives the members of the public a way to gauge whether they could potentially in harm's way, or liable if someone does get hurt.

"You could be on the path of a potential slide or rockfall, and you may want to meet with your neighbor upland to take appropriate action," said Caldwell.

Even though the city has just released the report, it has using the list to tackle some of the more serious problem-areas as money has become available.

There was a stretch of roadway up in Pupukea, on Oahu's North shore.

A curtain of netting was the fix in that case.

An area on Prospect Street just below Punchbowl Cemetery is next in line.

Earlier this year, crews began tackling the Sierra Drive problem.

The fix for the crumbly cinder cone was determined to be a spraying of concrete over the cliff line and the erection of a fence.

After KITV filed a public records request last summer,  the allowed us to look at the study in January after it was finalized.

"For me, it would be a tragedy if we said nothing about it, took action for ourselves and someone got hurt. That's why we are sharing this information," said Caldwell.

The comprehensive study using national standards may be first of its kind in the state.

"It was not an easy thing to do and it did take some time to put this thing together,” said Chris Takashige, Director of the Department of Design and Construction.

It took almost a decade to look  at hundreds of sites and to verify the information  In contrast, the fixes were fast.

"The actual physical work sometimes does not take long," Takashige said.

The Sierra Drive project took three months and $400,000.

"Was it worth the money to take action to save a life?  I think we would all answer, yes," the mayor said.

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz's report on your mobile device.

Do you want to print this page now?