Road construction, water main break double trouble for Waikiki residents, businesses

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - An ongoing construction project and an untimely water main break provided a double whammy for motorists and businesses in a section of Waikiki Sunday.

The state's contractor is doing manhole installation work on the west-bound side of Ala Moana Boulevard between Kalakaua Avenue and Atkinson Drive. Honolulu Board of Water Supply officials could not say whether that construction caused a 59-year-old pipe to rupture.

It's what Board of Water Supply repair crews refer to as a "blow out."

"Just a big hole in the pipe," Johnny Barientos, BWS lead supervisor, said. "The size of the hole is like two feet by about a foot. Yeah, so it's a big puka."

That big puka in the 12-inch main sent water gushing onto Ala Moana Boulevard and into a parking garage nearby.

"Closed" signs went up at Chart House and Red Lobster restaurants, and hungry diners were turned away, as water service was cut off during the pipe repairs.

"We drove in from Wahiawa," Wandella Jones, Wahiawa resident, said. "We really wanted Red Lobster today because we were craving seafood."

Taps were placed on fire hydrants, so residents at the Ilikai Marina and other condos in the area could get water. One woman told us she'll use bottled water to shower.

"It seems like there's a lot of water main breaks," Ken Wood, Ilikai Marina resident, said. "We're always prepared with extra jugs and what not. Luckily they opened the hydrants so we can fill up."

With unrelated construction work also underway, traffic around the Ala Moana Boulevard-Hobron Lane intersection slowed to a crawl. Goodfellow Bros. is working on phase one of a $34.4 million Ala Moana Boulevard-Nimitz Highway beautification project that includes pavement resurfacing, curb and sidewalk improvements, new lighting fixtures, and placing utility lines underground.

"Construction was working here throughout the day," Barientos said. "We have no idea if that was the cause of the break or not. It's hard to say."

The BWS workers expected the repairs to the water main to take several hours.

"We try to repair it as fast as we can," Barientos said.

BWS began restoring water service at about 9 PM.

The scheduled manhole installation started at 5 AM Sunday and was expected to go until 6 AM Monday.

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