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State begins cleanup of Nimitz homeless site

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    A crew of 40 to 50 workers moved to
    Arriving at Kilihau Street at about 8:45 a.m., the crew started pulling out discarded property a half-hour later.
    The area above is piled with rubbish from the homeless that live in the area. It is on the Diamond Head side of Kilihau Street.

State crews, including 70 inmates, began a cleanup of the homeless encampment beneath the H-1 freeway viaduct Monday.

The governor’s office said the sweep of the Nimitz encampment was part of routine cleanups held twice a year at the Nimitz viaduct and under an H-1 freeway overpass across Harding Avenue from Market City Shopping Center.

The Department of Public Safety said that 54 men from Waiawa Correctional Facility were assigned at the viaduct and 16 inmates from the Women’s Community Correctional Center worked at the paintball game area.

The inmates wore head-to-toe personal protective equipment: protective suits, hard hats, safety vests, gloves, particle masks and steel-toed boots, the state said.

The Department of Transportation cleanups generally occur in February and August, said Jodi Leong, the governor’s spokeswoman.

however, bad weather prevented the state from taking any action in August at the troublesome homeless encampment near Nimitz Highway.

The Market City cleanup took place on Aug. 3.

Besides state transportation workers and inmates, crews included contract sanitation and social workers. Deputy sheriffs supervised the operation.

The homeless campers were warned seven days before Monday’s cleanup.

Residents or businesses that want to report problems with squatters on DOT land should call the Department of Transportation at 831-6714, Leong added.

Each sweep costs $250,000 to $300,000.

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