Kalihi Valley residents on edge after boulder comes crashing down

Kalihi Valley Boulder

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A 150-pound boulder that came crashing down a hillside in Kalihi Valley on Monday has residents feeling nervous. It’s the same street where massive boulders damaged three homes last year.

It’s been an uneasy 24 hours for Kula Kolea Place resident Mhel Huff. At about 5 p.m. Monday, he was walking with his dog on the trail at the hillside when he heard an unmistakably dangerous sound.

“All I heard is woosh, woosh, woosh and then boom. And then my dog got hit with small rocks and my dog just ran away,” Huff said.

Honolulu Police were called to block off the area just in case more were coming down.

On Tuesday, engineers with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources got a closer look. The rock that fell measures at 21 inches in diameter and weighs 150 pounds.

Inspectors determined there are no other loose rocks from the same vicinity.

“We only looked at this area in the immediate proximity. It doesn’t mean this whole hillside is safe. I think that needs to be further assessed by the landowners,” DLNR Chief Engineer Carty Chang said.

Residents already got a scare in April 2012 when massive boulders — one the size of a car — crashed down the same hillside. There was so much damage that the state had to step in and haul away the boulders.

“We broke it up, we moved it off site and disposed of it. We also removed some of the fallen boulders that were in the private properties and disposed of it for the property owners,” Chang said.

There are more boulders farther up the hillside and engineers say it’s only a matter of time when they come down. So, residents want something done.

“For everybody who lives close to this mountain, it’s kind of really dangerous. If the owner can do something about it, it would be nice,” Huff said.

The land was owned by a church up the road, but the pastor says the church sold it. She would not say who bought it.

KHON2 will follow up to see who’s responsible for making the hillside safe.

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