City fields hundreds of complaints over hazardous utility covers, manholes


Safety concerns are being raised after a sidewalk gave way in Aiea.

Walter Davis was walking along busy Kaahumanu Street near Waimalu Shopping Plaza when the hand hole he stepped on collapsed.

“Nobody gives a lot of conscious thought when you’re on a sidewalk that you’re going to fall in. After the incident, you never walk the sidewalk the same way again,” said Davis.

Hawaiian Electric says it is still investigating the incident and working with Davis.

So how often are utility covers checked and who should you contact if you see a loose or broken cover?

Tyler Sugihara with the Department of Facility Maintenance’s Division of Roads Maintenance says hand holes and manholes are inspected annually.

Besides city departments, several agencies all maintain hand holes.

“We get complaints of all kinds of things, including the things you mentioned,” said Sheri Kajiwara, director of the Department of Customer Services.

Kajiwara provided numbers for how many complaints the department has received about broken or loose utility covers on city sidewalks:

UTILITY COVER COMPLAINTS GRAPHIC

From Jan. 1, 2013, to Sept. 28, 2015, Hawaiian Telcom and HECO had eight complaints each of loose or broken utility covers.

The Board of Water Supply had 36, the Sewer System had 148, and the Gas Company received 0.

“The Department of Planning and Permitting also has inspectors who investigate complaints of damaged utility covers and manholes and refer the repairs to the appropriate owners of the manhole and hand hole covers,” said Sugihara.

Of the 200 total complaints, the city is looking into how many were actually fixed.

KHON2 checked two different hand holes reported to the city within the past two months: one along 3301-3317 Maunaloa Avenue in Kaimuki, the other at 98-1169 Kaamilo Street in Aiea.

Both were fixed.

“We can’t be everywhere, and things happen very quick. So for the sake of public safety, we encourage everyone to call us if they see something that is a safety issue for the public,” said Kajiwara.

To report any dangers on city sidewalks, you can contact the city via the following:

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