MULTI-AGENCY CLEANUP OF NIMITZ HIGHWAY VIADUCT COMPLETED
News Release from Office of the Governor, Nov 21, 2017
LINK to photos: Airport Viaduct Cleanup Photos
HONOLULU – The massive cleanup of the area under the Nimitz Highway viaduct is complete. The multi-agency effort stretched from the Moanalua Bridge to the viaduct off-ramp to Kamehameha/Nimitz Highway and nearby waterways, and included outreach to those illegally residing under the viaduct.
“This operation is a prime example of the state’s new approach to maintaining lands under our stewardship,” said Gov. David Ige. “It begins with outreach to individuals trespassing on state lands, advance notification of impending cleanups and the offering of services to help transition people to shelters or housing. We will continue efforts to put state land to good use, prevent future damage and eliminate hazardous conditions.”
The cleanup resulted in the removal of about 4,104,000 pounds of debris, 110 gallons of hazardous waste, and the storage of 70 cubic yards of personal belongings.
As part of the outreach conducted by the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness, the Department of Public Safety and contracted service organizations, 12 individuals went to shelters and many more are believed to have connected with family or friends. Since the pilot program enforcement efforts began in July, more than 80 people have entered shelters or transitioned to housing.
Animal organizations such as the Hawaiian Humane Society, Poi Dogs and Popoki, and K9 Kōkua provided services to 110 dogs and 40 cats found living under the viaduct, and they continue to support the surrendered pets.
“The funding provided through the legislature and our matching funds made a big difference for the Nimitz viaduct cleanup which cost approximately $516,540,” said HDOT Interim Director Jade Butay. “Being able to hire a company to clean the area, sort and dispose of items in an ecologically responsible manner resulted in fewer disruptions to our crews, their work schedules and deadlines.”
The cleanup began with outreach and notification on Oct. 16 and concluded on Nov. 17. The agencies involved include: the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) in coordination with the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness, the Department of the Attorney General, the Department of Public Safety (PSD), Sheriffs Division, the HDOT Harbors Police, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the City & County of Honolulu, the Honolulu Police Department, the Hawaiian Humane Society, Poi Dogs and Popoki, K9 Kōkua. Outreach coordinators and providers include I.H.S., Kalihi-Palama Health Center, Care Hawaii, and Hale Naʻau Pono.
The area under the viaduct is now fenced in and will be used in the short-term for construction storage for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project. Long-term considerations are government operations to keep the area under the Nimitz viaduct in use.
HDOT continues to work with the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness and the PSD on regular outreach and trespassing enforcement along critical corridors of the H-1 Freeway and Nimitz Highway. HDOT plans to expand these efforts now that the viaduct cleanup is complete.
State law (HRS 264-6) prohibits the placement or storage of structures, vehicles, equipment, or other objects within the state highway right-of-way without HDOT’s permission. Any unattended property remaining in the highway area without authorization for a continuous 24 hour period will be considered abandoned and will be stored for a minimum of 30 days. Any such property may also be handled by the State of Hawai‘i pursuant to HRS 171-31.5. The recently passed state law (HRS 708-814) also provides the owner of unimproved or unused lands the authority to request an individual entering or remaining unlawfully in or upon said lands to leave given reasonable warning or notice.