Crews repair Liliha water main breaks, larger improvement project in the works

Alaneo Street

All repairs were completed and the final lanes reopened Monday following a series of water main breaks on Oahu.

Water main breaks aren’t unusual, but what unfolded Sunday was.

Four water main breaks occurred in a roughly two- to three-block area of Liliha between 6:30 and 8 a.m. — one on Alaneo Street, two on Lanakila Avenue, and one on Nalanui Street, all within a mile of each other.

Later in the afternoon, at around 3:30 p.m., there was a fifth main break on the same line at Alaneo Street.

The breaks cut water service to roughly four dozen homes and businesses.

The eight-inch main break under Alaneo Street formed a big hole in the road, forcing police to block it off.

Seventeen customers were without water, including the Higashi Hongwanji.

“Every Sunday, we hold refreshment time after services, and there is no running water, no toilets, so it’s kind of an inconvenience,” said Faye Shigemura, “but there are areas in the temple that have water, so we’ve been carting water to the hall.”

A six-inch main break in front of Lanakila Health Center affected one customer, but up the road, another 6-inch water main break caused more than just a water shortage to 16 customers.

“First, I thought it was raining when I heard the water coming down. Next thing I know, this whole driveway was a river coming down,” said resident Dexter Obra.

Obra’s neighbor, Virgilio Alonzo, said water from the broken pipe came down his driveway and flooded his yard.

“The water, if you stand here, the water was up to here,” Alonzo said, holding his hand about thigh-level. “The walkway over there, we have to request to make it higher so that the water will go to the road.”

“Everything is breaking down,” Obra said. “I guess it’s because this area is all old.”

About a half-mile away near Liliha Bakery on Nalanui Street, an eight-inch water main break was still bubbling with water. About 13 customers were impacted.

Repairs were completed on Alaneo Street and all lanes were reopened by 5:30 a.m. Monday. On Lanakila Avenue, repairs were completed and all lanes were reopened by 7:45 a.m.

While there’s no official cause for the breaks and it’s not known if they were even related, officials believe age was a factor.

The Board of Water Supply says one pipe was installed in 1931, others were installed in the 1960s, and one line doesn’t have any record on file.

A long-term improvement project is currently in the planning stages, a utility spokeswoman told KHON2.

“Right now, we’re finishing up the design, so it’s going to be somewhere between a $4 (million) to $5 million project, and it’s right in the area where we had some of the breaks,” said Kathleen Pahinui with the Board of Water Supply. “We’ve actually probably had this project planned a couple years ago. It just takes time for us to get through the planning and design phase, so we knew that was an area we had to (address).”

Construction is expected to go out for bid in fiscal year 2019, or as early as July 2018, Pahinui said.

Nalanui Street

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