State to erect fence on Nimitz, forcing scores of homeless out

State to erect fence on Nimitz, forcing scores of homeless out

It's been more than a year since the state has done a major clean-up under the Nimitz viaduct.

On Tuesday, notices were posted telling homeless who live in the area that runs parallel to the Mapunapuna bike path that they've got to go -- and take their stuff with them.

"For everyone's safety we have to vacate the premises," said state Transportation Department spokesman Tim Sakahara.

On Friday, the area will turn into an active construction zone. A permanent fence that will run from Ahua Street to Middle Street is set be built between the viaduct and the bike path.

Sakahara confirms the area under the viaduct will be sealed off with gates for authorized access.

The fence will displace scores of homeless, and outreach workers were on hand Wednesday to offer those on the streets their options.

"We just want to let people to know we're bringing shuttles down for the next couple days. Trying to help people get into shelters," said Justin Phillips, of the Institute for Human Services.

Sakahara said the DOT has gotten complaints about stray dogs in the area, and added the fence is needed "to try to protect the people and the bike path users whether it be pedestrians or cyclists."

As word about the fence spread, Melissa Lima contemplated her options. The viaduct has been her home the last two years.

"We don't know what to do. We're trying to get a storage right now. Just to put everything in storage," she said.

Meanwhile, the DOT warned heavy equipment could block off the bike path while the fence is being put up.

Construction on the new fence is expected to wrap up Nov. 19.

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