Residents frustrated over flooding damage they call avoidable - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Residents frustrated over flooding damage they call avoidable

USGS workers attempt to fix a damaged rain gauge. Photo courtesy: Jonathan Saupe. USGS workers attempt to fix a damaged rain gauge. Photo courtesy: Jonathan Saupe.
State Department of Defense workers survey a damaged bridge on Kamehameha Highway. Photo courtesy: Jonathan Saupe. State Department of Defense workers survey a damaged bridge on Kamehameha Highway. Photo courtesy: Jonathan Saupe.
Workers can see how high the waters were based on the debris line on this fence. Photo courtesy: Jonathan Saupe. Workers can see how high the waters were based on the debris line on this fence. Photo courtesy: Jonathan Saupe.
Justin Miranda Justin Miranda

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

(WINDWARD OAHU) - Now that the weekend storm is gone it's time for some of the complaints to start rolling in. One of them is with the Waiahole Bridge in Windward Oahu. The people that live near there say it acts like more of a dam during big rain events and is the root of the flooding problem. 

"I was carrying the kids to the car and was in about 30 inches of water," said Justin Miranda, flooding victim.

Miranda recalls Saturday night when the Waiahole Stream broke the banks and flooded his property and caused $225,000 in damage to plants for his business Waiahole Botanicals.  It was all avoidable he claims if the state kept the stream clear.

"This tall grass is anywhere from 10 feet high and it slows everything down and whatever comes loose just gets clogged down at the Waiahole Bridge there," said Miranda.

He says his place has been flooded three times the past six years.

"If it happens once you can try to recover from it. This is the third time and it's worse than it has been in the past. It kind of feels like that situation when you get slapped in the head and you keep going back and you get slapped in the head again. Something has to be done," said Miranda.

The Waiahole Stream and Kahana Stream gages were both recording record levels until the flooding knocked them completely off their foundations.  USGS crews should have them fixed this week at a cost of around $40,000 each.

"At the Waiahole Stream we have 9 years of data and at the Kahana Stream we have 51 years of data, and this is the highest water level we've seen at those sites in that period," said Ron Rickman, U.S. Geological Survey, Supervisory Hydrologist.

Hawaiian Telcom crews were also working on repairing damage that cut internet service.

There's still a brown water advisory in effect from Haleiwa to Waikane and Kaneohe Bay.  People should stay out of the water in those areas until Friday.

The State Civil Defense came out to inspect damage.  They noticed the debris backup but not some of the structural damage, which includes cracks in the concrete foundation and separating up on the roadway itself.  Residents say it is much worse than before.

Now that the State Civil Defense is aware of some of the problems with this bridge they're going to turn the information over to the State Department of Transportation Highways Division to start working on a solution.

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