Kapahulu area residents hope long-delayed project will fix flooding

Kapahulu area residents hope long-delayed project will fix flooding

KAPAHULU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When it's dry and sunny, residents along Palani Avenue go about their daily lives. But when it rains and pours, there's a flooding issue here, especially for the residents of one apartment building off Date Street.

The parking garage at 707 Palani Avenue is below ground. And when heavy rain causes water to rush down the street, a lot of that water ends up in the garage, just like it did in 2012, submerging cars and the stairways to individual units.

Lance Katahara and other residents have complained to the city about the problem for years. But they've been even more nervous this year, since the city is in a $1.4 million project to try to fix the problem.

"We want this done as much as they do. We know they've been waiting a long time," said City Council member Ann Kobayashi. "And I really apologize for all the delays and the concerns, all the problems they've had to deal with."

In the meantime, the storm drains just in front of the building are covered to mitigate construction debris from the project to replace the storm drains, which means residents still have their contingency plans. Katahara brought several sand bags, which are placed on rolling pallets in the garage.

"We had sandbags before, but carrying 50-pound bags up, one at a time up that ramp, is not fun," he said.

Residents of other buildings say the flooding has plagued the whole neighborhood along the street, which runs between Kapahulu Avenue and Date Street.

Arnold Tang showed us how high the water gets in the garage of his apartment building, farther up the block toward Kapahulu.

"You see the mark? There's yellow, right here," Tang said, pointing to a mark along the garage wall. "Eight inches high."

Tang built the apartments two years ago, but the four units have been empty because of the threat of flooding.

"I haven't rented out yet, because I don't want people to move in and then still get flood," he said.

Kobayashi said there were delays, but the work to fix the flooding problem should be done soon.

"You know how it is when you're issuing contracts, and then bones were found in the area and there was more of a delay. But it should be done by March or April," she said.

Until then, Palani Avenue residents will keep their fingers crossed for dry weather.

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