City council: Slow-moving Palolo project has plenty of money

There's still not much progress on this $5 million road project on Kuahea St.

For the first time since Thursday, work has resumed at a $5 million Palolo road project. KHON2 has been keeping tabs on it ever since residents called their frustrations into our Action Line.

Residents are upset because crews dug up the road in front of their homes, making it impossible to get in or out of their driveway. It’s been like this for nearly two months. The hole in front of their driveway is about eight feet deep as part of a project to shore up the hillside, but it’s forced residents to walk to their cars, which have to be parked outside the construction zone. Ellen Migita, 85, walks with a cane and has to navigate an unsteady plywood walkway to get past the site and wait for the Handi-Van.

Residents say the last time they saw anyone working was Thursday. KHON2 inspected the site, sans workers, on Friday and Monday was a holiday. Today, we found just one worker digging up the trench. But even when workers are there, residents say there aren’t too many of them.

Residents wanted to know why this project is taking so long, so we took their concerns to a city councilmember. Ann Kobayashi agrees it’s unfair to residents and says she wants to know why there aren’t more workers at the site when there’s plenty of money earmarked for the project – a total of $5.6 million that the administration isn’t using up.

“Usually, we can’t fix something because there is no money, but in this case the money is waiting to be spent,” Kobayashi said. “I think we’ll make it a discussion on this next budget meeting to find out why there are either one or two people or no one working on the project.”

The city hired Royal Dragon Builders for this phase of the project for $1.5 million and says everything is on schedule. When asked if the contractors are working at an acceptable pace, Chris Takashige of the city’s Department of Construction and Design said, “Yes, I will have to say yes, because I’ve looked at the contract schedule and they’re on schedule.”

When KHON2 asked the contractor how many workers the project should take, it referred us to the city. We’re still waiting for a response.

The city says the project should be done at the end of March.

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