Work to begin on Kamehameha Highway lane damaged by big waves

Work to begin on Kamehameha Highway lane damaged by big waves

KAAAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Drivers traveling along Kamehameha Highway are hitting their brakes near Kaaawa Valley Road due to crumbling asphalt and downed trees. The Hawaii Department of Transportation said the area was eroded by high surf. Big waves also damaged a guardrail.

"Right out there the highway is right next to the ocean, so in this case, the high surf came up and had some damage," said DOT Spokesperson Tim Sakahara.

DOT crews came out Thursday to begin repair work. They placed existing boulders in the compromised area to help prevent further erosion.

Jeff Knight, however, who's renting out the house across the street, noticed a problem earlier in the week.

"We saw that the dirt was cracking and some asphalt so we backed away a little bit," Knight said.

After 3 months and $3 million spent on emergency repairs along the same highway in summer 2015, DOT said it's working on permanent solutions.

"Possibly we can go in there with some strengthening material and really boost up the infrastructure or decide if there's additional remedies in place that will be necessary," Sakahara said.

DOT is also considering moving the roadway mauka and narrowing the lanes. Knight said it's unfortunate he will have to deal with the congestion for the remainder of his vacation.

"We're probably going to head south most of the time," he said. "I think we might make one trip early in the morning up there to play with the beach but after that were going to head south."

DOT crews will work from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and are expected to wrap up within the week.

In the meantime, traffic on the two-lane artery is being contra-flowed in the area.

Crews plan to replace the guardrail, remove the damaged asphalt, fill the area, and repave the roadway.

"We are working to make the repairs as quickly as possible with the least amount of impact to residents, businesses and visitors," said Ed Sniffen, state Highways Division deputy director. "The area in question is within half a mile of a separate shoreline project we completed last fall. We are expediting additional permanent projects that will address the shoreline issues in the area."

The public is urged to drive with caution in the area, and avoid it if possible.

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