Palolo road project several weeks behind schedule

The deadline is looming for a road project in Palolo that has caused headaches for residents.

One month ago, Kuahea St. had been dug up about eight-feet deep and work closed off access to the driveways of several homes.

The city said then that the $1.2 million project, which started in November, would be done at the end of March.

With the deadline now three days away, KHON2 went to check the city’s progress and found that the completion date was pushed back to April 21. The city says a gas line and a water line broke and needed to be replaced.

“Due to unforeseen site conditions, due to anything below the ground, because we can’t see that before we start the project,” said Chris Takashige from the Dept. of Construction and Design.

University of Hawaii engineering professor Panos Prevedouros says the project should have taken weeks instead of months to complete.

“It doesn’t sound right,” he said. “Projects like this, when health and safety are directly affected, we have to plan it in a way so that the project is done expeditiously or at least part of the project is done so that access is not cut off.”

Prevedouros says it should have taken no more than a month and that the contractor, Royal Dragon, could have also worked on half the width of the road at a time, which would have still allowed residents to use their driveways.

Prevedouros says another option is for the workers to install a temporary lane, much like what the military does, at the end of the day. “They’re structural metal boxes that essentially you put them one next to the other and you just bolt them together and it would take time, every time, for the contractor to do it,” he said.

Takashige says the city looked at these options, but couldn’t do them. “Physically it’s too big, too big a job,” Takashige said. “If you’re going to build a bridge, a big hole to create that bridge, you have to take days to build that bridge and days and days to dismantle it.”

As for working on half the road at a time, Takashige says the quality of the work would suffer and it would also drive up the cost.

“I’m sorry that there are people who are inconvenienced, but for me, doubling or tripling the cost of a contract for purely the sake of convenience, I don’t think is justifiable,” Takashige said.

Takashige says the city will already have to pay more for the delay.

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