New weight limit for crumbling North Shore bridge causes headaches

New weight limit for crumbling North Shore bridge causes headaches

NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A strict weight restriction on a key North Shore bridge is snarling traffic and causing big headaches for tour groups and truck drivers.

Crews are turning vehicles that exceed the 15-ton weight limit for the Puamalu Stream Bridge around near Laniakea Beach, forcing them to go all the way around the island to get to their destination.

The weight requirement is needed because the 87-year-old bridge needs structural repairs. But while the weight limit has been in place for about a week, some still haven't gotten the message.

State Department of Transportation officials said since Wednesday, 55 drivers have had to be rerouted. Workers are monitoring all of the traffic in both directions from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The new limit nearly ruined an Australian couple's wedding. Last Thursday, Natalie Christensen was in charge of getting the groom and 50 guests to Loulu Palm Estate.

"The couple arranged transportation for everyone from Waikiki all the way up to the North Shore," she said.

But three miles from the venue, the tour bus was stopped. A DOT worker told the driver he'd have to turn around.

"This was one that was absolutely a first for us," Christensen said. "Given the traffic and everything we likely would have just missed the entire event completely."

But some quick thinking and a lot of cooperation saved the day.

"Basically, there were caterers there, the photographers, the entire staff was there and they were willing and able to drive down to the location and pick up all the guests and carry them across the bridge and to the venue," she said.

Hawaii News Now spoke with several tour companies who said they are now using smaller vans instead of buses on the North Shore.

The repairs on the bridge are slated to wrap up in June, and the weight limit will then be increased to 25 tons.

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