Honolulu doesn't have enough workers to maintain tall grass

Honolulu doesn't have enough workers to maintain tall grass

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The problem is growing, literally.

"My yard grew a foot in a week and a half," said Alex Smith.

Tall grass and not enough people to cut it.

"There are a lot of areas that have tall grass in the medians and landscaped areas next to roadways and we apologize for that," said Ross Sasamura.

Along the Ala Wai Canal grass is up to your knees.

"Almost 3 feet yeah?  Last time I think it cut it was three or four weeks ago," said Andrais Bourgazis.

Our cameras captured more of the same along Kapahulu Avenue, the streets of Kalihi and on the east side along Kalanianaole Highway.

Department of Facilities Maintenance Chief Engineer Ross Sasamura says they're short staffed. Right now there are only 14 people working when the city needs 40.  Officials say a recent collective bargaining dispute with independent contractors forced the city to take on the chore.

"We're actually in the process of building that workforce to handle the newly acquired responsibility," said Sasamura.

On Friday part of that crew worked in Aina Haina maintaining medians.

"There are times when it may effect sight distance when people pull out into streets and take turns on to streets.  For that reason we give priority to those areas that may present traffic safety problems," said Sasamura.

That means other areas will have to wait.

Officials said the area along the Ala Wai was last cut at the end of August.  It's not scheduled to be cut again for at least six more weeks.

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