A plan to overhaul several aging water lines in Honolulu just cleared a major hurdle.
The Board of Water Supply is planning nine improvement projects using bigger pipes in neighborhoods, including Downtown, Kakaako and Waikiki.
The work's finding of no significant impact for all the projects means an environmental impact statement isn't necessary. The next step will be an archaeological inventory survey to check for any iwi kupuna.
Officials say the first modernization project will be in Waikiki. The 12-inch transmission line under Ala Moana Boulevard between Kalakaua Avenue and Atkinson Avenue will be replaced with a 24-inch main.
BWS crews are constantly fixing broken water mains across Oahu.
"We average somewhere between 28 to 30 a month, which seems like a lot, but we're actually below the national average. We run somewhere from 300 to 315 annually," said BWS information officer Kathleen Pahinui.
Waikiki resident Clifton Johnson isn't thrilled about the upcoming work, since a lengthy sewer project near his condo just finished.
"Traffic is going to back up and you got new towers at the Hilton so we got increased traffic already so now you're going to go through and put us all through this all over again," he said.
BWS officials plan to consult with community members to try to minimize any disruptions.
They said that construction likely won't start until the end of 2019.
"You have a lot of businesses and hotels down there so nighttime work probably wouldn't be the best," said Pahinui. "Maybe during the day, but starting at a time when all the tour buses and people are generally out of Waikiki."
The total construction cost estimate is $44 million and will be paid for with BWS operating funds, hookup fees and state revolving funds. The last rate increase was in July 2015.
"Are we looking at a potential rate increase in the future? Always. I mean, we're currently working on a financial plan and we will be doing a rate study, but we're not looking at raising rates in 2017 at all," Pahinui said.
The construction work for all of the projects will be spread out over several years.