Kalihi lane swamped by storm water due to city rule not allowing drainage

A Kalihi road is still under water following this week’s heavy rain.

An Auld Lane resident told us that this happens every time it rains because there is no drainage on the private street.

People living here want to know if the city can step in to help, so we looked into it and learned the city did take action recently — but just not in the way they were hoping for.

Resident Montana Neyra said city crews used to pop a manhole cover on the street to help drain the floodwater. But earlier this summer, just before tropical storm Darby, crews locked it down to prevent that from happening.

Beforehand, “they wouldn’t open it all the way,” Neyra said. “They were just lifting it up just slightly, then they would close it, and then open it again.”

But the city says no more. The manhole cover is now locked, because it’s illegal for people to open manhole covers because the storm water can overwhelm the sewage system. That’s what contibuted to a massive sewage spill in the Ala Moana area last year.

We asked a spokesman if the city would help these residents. In an email, it stated that “we’re told while Auld Lane qualifies for maintenance under the city’s Private Streets Ordinance (and that) this is limited to replacement of the original materials used to build the road.

“It is the responsibility of the road’s owner to make any improvements that residents deem necessary outside of its original construction.”

We also asked the city how many manhole covers it’s locked up, and they replied that they’re researching that and will get back to us with the number.

The city, however, continues to lock manhole covers any time they have reports of people popping them open.

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