Crumbling North Shore bridge weighs on the minds of drivers

Crumbling North Shore bridge weighs on the minds of drivers

NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is planning emergency construction work to fix a deteriorating bridge on Oahu's North Shore.  In the meantime, new speed and weight limits are in place.  But those who live in the area are still worried.

"Does it look like they're going 25 mph? No," said long-time North Shore resident Raynel Foster.

"Not one of them is gonna stop. They're already to the bridge, the only other alternative is to turn around and go all the way the other way and go back to town and that's really not feasible either," North Shore resident Jeff Bushman said.

Residents say inspectors came out to the Paumalu Stream Bridge near Sunset Beach on Thursday. And on Friday, warning signs went up.

"Some of the columns, the concretes actually peeled away and it's only bare rebar. And other columns, there's pieces that are chipped away and almost every column has damage," Bushman said.

A report released this summer by TRIP, a national transportation research group states, in 2013, 19-percent of Hawaii's bridges were structurally deficient, ranking Hawaii number sixth in the nation.

Those on the North Shore say if the state plans to change this statistic, they need to think of alternate routes for the residents.

"There's a hospital, Kahuku hospital on that side. How are people gonna do that? Gatta go all the way around the island?" Foster said.

"These bridges are our lifeline on the North Shore and to have one little bridge go out, can change everything for all the residents," said Bushman.

In a news release the Department of Transportation sent out on Friday, it said the bridge weight limit has been reduced from 40 to 27 tons.

On Saturday morning, a concerned driver snapped a shot of a large truck going across the bridge showing a Gross Vehicle Weight of more than 65-thousand pounds.

"You see the military vehicles come past, and then you'll see concrete trucks coming up and down. You hear them because I live right across the road from it," said Wayne Gardener.

While residents agree something needs to be done, they also realize on that side of the island, it's one way in and one way out.

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