Work underway to protect infrastructure, construction sites from storm damage

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Updated: Jul. 23, 2020 at 5:44 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - In preparation for Hurricane Douglas, the city and state are checking drainage systems along roads, highways and streams to prevent flooding.

And with hundreds of millions of dollars in public construction projects underway, they are also requiring contractors to secure their work sites and equipment.

“The Division of Facilities Maintenance is clearing storm drains and streams as we talk around the island,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

“The Department of Design and Construction is going around to all construction sites, has reached out to all construction sites where there are city projects like this one to make sure their buttoned up by the end of tomorrow.”

[Get the latest forecast as Douglas approaches by clicking here.]

Back in 2015, heavy rains from Tropical Depression Kilo caused half a million gallons of sewage to back up at Ala Moana Beach Park. Caldwell said the city is making plans to prevent that this time.

“We just got off the phone with Environmental Services to make sure our sewer system is up to standard in terms of any disconnected pipes are reconnected and any pukas are filled in so we don’t have an Ala Moana sewage spill,” said Caldwell.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, meanwhile, said it is requiring all materials, tools, sheds and small equipment that can be damaged by rising water be removed from excavation sites and low areas prone to flooding.

It’s also requiring contractors to lower mobile crane booms and ensure that all equipment is removed from excavations.

“We’re working to ensure that our personnel are safe and that we prepare our work sites to keep the community safe during the storm,” said HART CEO Andy Robbins.

The state is also telling its contractors to secure their work sites and to fasten down their materials and equipment.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation said it’s also checking its drainage systems along the highways and is keeping crews ready on emergency standby.

Hawaiian Electric Co. said crews have been clearing trees and vegetation near power lines and equipment.

“In case of outage turn off all unnecessary equipment and appliances. When the power goes back on, unplug items back in one at a time,” said HECO spokeswoman Shannon Tangonan.

“If you see a downed power line, assume it’s energized and dangerous. Stay 30 feet away.”

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