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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         November 17, 2006




            City crews working with a private towing contractor managed late yesterday to pull a City excavator from the Waipahu streambed where it had been stuck for almost a week.

            The 31-ton excavator had been stuck in the Wailani Stream tributary near the Paiwa Street Bridge since last Friday. The excavator was clearing brush, stumps and debris from the streambed as part of the Road Maintenance Division’s ongoing stream-clearing efforts when it sank into the soft silt.  It was unable to extract itself under its own power.

            On Saturday, the Department of Facility Maintenance deployed a bulldozer to build a ramp for the excavator, but the bulldozer also got stuck. Efforts to free both machines continued Sunday without success.

            “The stream has a narrow access way that had to be widened to gain adequate access for the recovery equipment to enter and to have a work platform to lift the excavator,” said DFM Director Laverne Higa. “The access is very narrow, with a wall and houses on one side and the stream on the other. Maneuverability is very limited, and our primary concern was to create sufficient, safe work space while minimizing damage to the surrounding area. “

            On Monday, T&T Towing and Recovery was contracted to recover the stuck equipment. The bulldozer was freed earlier this week and the excavator was lifted out about 5:30 p.m. yesterday.

            The bulldozer is already back in service. The excavator is inoperable, and City Automotive Equipment Service mechanics will assess what repairs are needed. Costs of the repairs and of the retrieval operation have not yet been tallied.

            “This underscores the challenges our crews face in keeping Oahu’s stream beds clear,” Higa said. “These crews also do road maintenance and other jobs that are often overlooked , but are essential for the community’s safety.”

            The excavator is one of two in the Road Maintenance Division. The City will rent another excavator temporarily to replace it, and the division’s other heavy equipment – cranes, bulldozers and the like – will be used to continue the stream cleaning.

            In addition, work is being done today to restore the stream and remove all the material that was brought in for the retrieval operation. A floating boom has been deployed downstream to control sediment and debris.



Media contact:

            Laverne Higa, Director of Facility Maintenance, 692-5054

            Keoki Miyamoto, Deputy Director of Facility Maintenance, 692-5151


Friday, November 17, 2006

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