EXCLUSIVE: City finalizes hazardous rockfall list

Crews tackle section of Sierra Drive -- one of the most potentially dangerous rockfall sites

Published  6:29 PM HST Jan 09, 2013
HONOLULU -

For the past few days, crews have working to expose a hidden hazard along Sierra Drive in Kaimuki.

Motorists may not have known how unstable the hillside is, since it was hidden by thick vegetation.

On Wednesday, crews worked to loosen rock and remove an overgrown banyan tree to get them access to the area that needs to be scaled back.

The plan calls for crews to cut four feet into the hillside.  The area will then be stabilized using netting, pins, and concrete to make sure nothing else comes down.

"We have to do whatever it takes to stabilize the hillside," said Chris Takashige, director of the Department of Design and Construction.

The city has actually spent the last decade surveying areas around the island that threaten public safety and public property and only last month finalized its list.

It has completed one project -- a dangerous drive in Pupukea.

A second phase in the same neighborhood is about to get under way.

Next on the list is a section in urban Honolulu.

"We have Punchbowl and Prospect next on the list, so as money becomes available we have begun to work on them," Takeshige said.

Preliminary work is also underway for two areas on Round Top Drive.

Landslide on Round Top Drive on Jan. 3

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Landslide on Round Top Drive on Jan. 3

In the meantime, the Kaimuki project could last until April.

The priority list was drawn up based on the angle of the slope and impact on public safety.

"Most of them are privately owned. Our intent is to take care of the ones that are city property and make our way down the list," Takeshige said.

The strategy is to correct the hidden hazards now, to avoid more expensive payouts later.

The city does not yet have a way to notify private homeowners that their property may be on the list.

The list includes Alencastre and Dole Streets in the St Louis Heights area, as well as Pacific Heights, Salt Lake Drive, and Nuuanu-Pali Drive in town.

Lilipuna Road, Kuuna Street, Apoluka and Akiohala Street round out the top of the list.

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