Beachwalk Project Begins Phase Two

Craig Nishimura
Craig Nishimura

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - A million-dollar machine, with an interesting name, arrives in Waikiki to help prevent another sewer main break.

It's the second phase of the Beachwalk Wastewater Emergency Bypass Project. It's a microtunneling operation that involves state-of-the-art technology.

It looks like a jet engine, but it's actually an 11-ton microtunneling machine.

"It digests the material and is able to eat rocks and a few things," said Franco Coluccio, contractor.

Crews carefully lift the machine, which they've named Lynette. They lower it into a huge pit near the Ala Wai. It will chew its way underground.

The contractor named the machine after his office manager.

"As it goes into the ground, they're going to be pushing this head with the steel pipe. And the head is going to eat its way through and it's going to be continually pushed," said Craig Nishimura, design deputy director.

"The machine excavates with a slurry technology where it mixes water with the excavated material and thus returns up and out of the shaft," said Coluccio.

The microtunneling machine will travel more than 1,200 feet underground and end at the pit on the corner of Kuhio and Kaiolu Street.

Crews will later install two sets of wastewater pipes underground, that will hook up to the existing pipe on the bottom of the canal.

This is all part of the Bypass Project, which began after the main break last Spring. That's when sewage leaked into the Ala Wai.

This phase of the project should go unnoticed.

"Basically a means of doing construction without digging up the road," said Nishimura.

Contractors estimate it'll take two weeks for Lynette to get to the other side of the Ala Wai.

In July, crews completed phase one, by building a temporary bypass line.

It can be used if the aging sewer line breaks again.