By Roger Mari
HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Nearly two years have passed since work on an emergency bypass system along the Ala Wai Canal began. Unsightly and large pipes have been a visible reminder of the March 2006 sewage spill that triggered the multi-million dollar project. The spill sent 48-million gallons of wastewater went into the canal.
Sunday, it was the news joggers, bikers and residents on Ala Wai Boulevard have been waiting for. Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced that the final stretch of the emergency bypass system will be dismantled.
Along the Ala Wai Boulevard between Seaside Avenue and Lewers Street there was no parking, no path, and the pipes and other equipment looked awful. Ann Rasmussson lives across from the bypass system and used the path to get a work out.
"I come out of my door and this is the first thing that I see, and it's like the opposite of Hawaii to me," said Waikiki Resident Ann Rasmusson.
This week these pipes, barriers, and construction equipment will all be a thing of the past, allowing the walkway to be used again.
"Joggers will be able to jog up and down the Ala Wai. Our bikers will be able to use the bike path, and about another 25 to 30 people will find a place to park," said Waikiki Board Member Robert Finley.
For some it was an inconvenience, but along with frustration, came patience and understanding.
"I'll put up with it as long as what the final product will be a better infrastructure and we don't have to have that kind of problem again," said Waikiki Resident Gary Chamberlin.
In October of 2007 900-feet of pipe along the Ala Wai had been removed. The 750-foot portion of the Ala Wai Boulevard remained as an emergency backup. It is no longer needed and will be removed since the system is now up and running.
"It was difficult, it was grimy, it was dirty but we did it and we got it done," said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman.
But the blight will not be completely cleared from Waikiki as the bypass pipes on the other side of the Ala Wai are still needed in case the main line gets damaged. The pipes and other equipment will be there for the next year.