Residents question wheelchair ramp work without a sidewalk - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Residents question wheelchair ramp work without a sidewalk

Posted: Updated:
Jim Sylvester Jim Sylvester
John Floyd John Floyd
Francis Fedor Francis Fedor
KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A nearly $6 million road project in Kailua started with complaints and now it's generating even more. Many thought the Mokapu Boulevard road repaving wasn't necessary, now they feel it just doesn't make sense.

There are 13 bus stops in all on the one mile stretch of Mokapu Boulevard between Oneawa and Kaneohe Bay Drive. Each of them is getting a new wheelchair ramp and curb cutout. But what doesn't make sense to some homeowners is there is no sidewalk. So the person in the wheelchair still has to go into the street to get to and from the stop.

"I don't understand it either because if somebody does come in a wheelchair they have to wheel down Mokapu," said Jim Sylvester, Mokapu Boulevard Homeowner.

"If all of them are going to have ramps it seems like an excessive waste of taxpayer money," said John Floyd, Mokapu Boulevard Homeowner.

Of course people aren't happy the bus stop is now taking a big chunk of their front yard, Up to 23 feet long in some cases. The work also ripped up sprinkler systems and tore up some plants and trees. But it is part of the easement right of way and technically state property even if the homeowner maintains it.

"Especially I'm upset about the way they've designed this so pedestrians have to walk out in the middle of the street to pass by here," said Floyd.

A state employee admits it does seem like a waste of money but if they don't put in the wheelchair ramp someone will sue for not being ADA compliant, the state will then pay attorney fees and likely lose in court and have to go back and do the work anyway. And yes it might be dangerous for the wheelchair to move on the street but at least the bus is dropping them off in a safe spot off the road.

The construction manager on the project from Road and Highway Builders says it did seem a bit strange to build the ramp without a sidewalk, but he says they don't design the project they just do it according to the plans given to them by the state.

"What they should do is put the bus stops then put the sidewalk," said Francis Fedor, Bus Passenger.

There are no plans to install a sidewalk.

"This whole project to me hasn't been smooth," said Sylvester.

The whole project is costing $5.76 million. Eighty percent is from federal tax dollars.

It will be another six weeks before the project is finished.

Residents are however happy the stretch of road near the H3 freeway finally got repaved. That stretch of road was filled with potholes. That was a separate project with a different funding source.

Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.